Uvalde School Shooting

Role of Mental Health in Texas Senate Hearing on Uvalde Massacre

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Day two of the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans hearing focused on mental health.

In the wake of the Uvalde school shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers, the committee wanted to address ways to try and prevent this from happening again.

"Mental health is everyone's business,” said Sonja Gaines with Texas Health and Human Service Commission. “We all play a role."

That's why several mental health agencies from across the state shared with the members the issues they are facing.

A key theme was repeated often about a need for more mental health care workers.

Calls for transparency in the investigation of the Uvalde school massacre continue along with talks about how the state moves forward with keeping schools safe. NBC 5's Allie Spillyards reports.

"The state continues to face a shortage of mental health professionals,” said Dr. Stephanie Chapman, director of primary care psychology. “If I might add, shortages of mental health professionals who speak Spanish as well as mental health professionals who reflect the communities that they serve."

Possible solutions were presented like having schools offer mental health curriculums and even school-level mental health screenings.

"Just as schools complete vision screenings and verify immunization status for all students they can use brief validated tools to assess how students are feeling and coping also asking about adverse childhood experiences that increase risk for mental health concerns," Chapman said.

All the agencies are trying to address mental health the best they can. Speakers at Wednesday's hearing discussed how parents must play a part and be willing to get their children the help they need.

"The work that we do is not to replace the family,” said Dr. David Lakey, presiding officer of the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium. “It doesn't replace the role of the parents."

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