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Texas lawmakers hear mental health concerns

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 28, 2013 at 6:45 pm •  Published: February 28, 2013
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Sen. John Whitmire, a long-serving Democrat from Houston, said schools could do more than take punitive measures when it comes to disciplining students with mental health issues.

Rep. Debbie Riddle, a Republican from the suburbs northwest of Houston, said programs need to be in place to help break the cycle of repeated incarceration for individuals with mental health issues.

"The place for someone with a mental health issue is not jail," she said.

About 200 people attended the rally. Some carried signs with slogans like "It's Just FundaMental Health" on them.

"It's the fiscally responsible, cost-effective thing to do," Sharon DeBlanc, leader of the Texas chapter of the advocacy group National Alliance on Mental Illness, said of increasing treatment. "Mental health is an issue whose time has come due to unfortunate events that have placed it at the forefront of our nation's dialogue. Let's don't let the opportunity pass."