Texas ranks 50th in funding for mental health patients

Two years ago, I got a call from a college friend who told me that her brother had killed their mother.

Her brother had been mentally ill his whole life, growing up in Houston. He’d been in and out of facilities, in and out of jail and on and off the streets until his own mother finally took him in, somewhat to keep him safe but also to keep everyone else safe.

He’d threatened her repeatedly over the years. My friend had urged her mother to kick him out or to run away before she was killed. But it happened. When she called to tell me, she didn’t know where he’d run. She thought he might be in Thailand or maybe here in Texas, just hiding.

The mental illness of some is not just their problem, it’s all of our problem. Unfortunately, mentally ill people in Texas get less help than, say, a wheelchair-bound African-American grandmother raising her children’s children on SNAP. That is to say almost none. We don’t seem to care.

See these facts from a 2012 report on mental health disparities from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, via Austin’s Community Action Network, which hosts much more downloadable data:

One in four U.S. adults experiences a diagnosable mental illness annually; six percent have a serious mental illness. One in five children in the U.S. has a diagnosable mental health disorder.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administra6on

1/2 of all lifetime cases begin by age 14 and 3/4 have begun by age 24.
National Institute of Mental Health

Only a third of 488,520 adults in Texas with serious and persistent mental illness received services through the community mental health system.
Texas Department of State Health Services

One in four of the 154,724 Texas children with severe emotional disturbance received treatment through the community mental health system.
Texas Department of State Health Services

Less than 33% of the state’s 48,700 practicing doctors accept Medicaid patients.
Texas Health and Human Services Commission

Texas has now fallen to 50th place in per capita funding for mental health services (51st including Washington, D.C.)
Kaiser Family Foundation

What can you do to change this and improve conditions in our state for all patients but specifically for mental health patients?

There are a number of nonprofit organizations working to support people with mental illness and their families. Please take a moment to click through and consider a donation. See the list here.

Please consider making a donation to one of these find organizations. And sticking up for them and the people they serve.

Thinks this is too rare? See this story “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother,” written by a mother raising an 8-year-old son who had repeatedly threatened to kill her.


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