Contact: Laurence Grotheer
March 5, 2013
State Senator Toni N. Harp (D-New Haven), co-chair of the Mental Health Services Working Group of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety, today reported recommendations of that working group to legislative leaders. The suggestions and recommendations from each of three working groups will be synthesized into Emergency Certified legislation to be considered soon by the entire General Assembly.
Senator Harp said her working group reached consensus on four fundamental recommendations while 21 other recommendations were made without unanimity among working group members.
“I’m delighted all members of our working group could agree on the need for increased mental health first aid training for public school personnel and for the need to create a high-level Mental Health Task Force to conduct a comprehensive study of the state’s mental health delivery system,” Senator Harp said. “We also stood united in our desire to see greater awareness of mental health concerns within our court system and among the state’s pediatricians.”
Senator Harp said the non-consensus recommendations ranged from the need for behavioral health assessments and services at school-based health centers to the inclusion of mental health histories in background checks and gun permit applications.
“I feel very strongly that more and expanded school-based health centers would give more young people in our state access to physiological and mental health services and improve the overall public health among children and adolescents in this fashion,” Senator Harp said. “As far as background checks for gun permit applicants the need is self-evident; I’m also convinced the questions ought to include questions about mental health history and whether anyone else with access to the gun is under the care of a mental health professional.”
Senator Harp said other non-consensus items include shifting administrative responsibility for the state’s mental health services from the Department of Children and Families to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and revising Connecticut’s insurance policies to ensure easier access to mental health services for those who need them.
Vice Chair: Aging
Legislative Office Building
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
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