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Commissioner Leads Call For More Mental Health Funding

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Steve Pickett
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The tragic Newtown, Connecticut shootings have sparked a national debate about gun control and mental health.

One Dallas County Commissioner is trying to secure increased funding for North Texas mental health and substance abuse treatment. John Wiley Price is leading a coalition of local elected leaders as well as criminal justice and mental health professionals to address the issue.

Eighty new patients are seen daily at Green Oaks Hospital, which is the center of psychiatric treatment and care for Dallas and six surrounding counties. It is often the primary place police initially transport violent, mentally troubled criminal suspects.

“I could pick out 2-3 in a stage of their mental illness, that if left unchecked, if we didn’t secure their weapons, or stabilize their illness, would easily become a Sandy Hook situation,” says Green Oaks CEO Tom Collins.

Instead of arming teachers, Dallas leaders suggests arming mental health associations with more money to treat patients in need. In 2011, Dallas County provided 73 thousand people mental health care with reduced funding from the state.

“You can not continue to ask these providers that put a lot at risk, to continue to perform services like that,” says Price.

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