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Senate leader in DC pushing mental health programs

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 22, 2013 at 2:13 pm •  Published: January 22, 2013

But Steinberg said the biggest problem is that about $750 million has been taken out of mental health programs to deal with budget cuts even as the initiative raised $1 billion from a 1 percent surtax on incomes exceeding $1 million.

He said early intervention and treatment is key to preventing violence like last month's massacre in Connecticut, where a young gunman killed 20 elementary school students, six educators and himself. He pointed to a Sacramento County program funded by Proposition 63 that has screened 1,300 young people for early signs of mental illness in the last five years, then treated those who needed help.

He has meetings scheduled through Wednesday with California's U.S. senators and representatives including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from San Francisco, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield.