Sen. Linares Co-Sponsoring Bill to Improve Mental Health Services Access; Bill Passes Senate

May 23, 2013

Sen. Linares: Bipartisan Bill Aims to Improve Access to State Mental Health Services

Sen. Art Linares today applauded the state senate’s passage of a proposal which aims to improve and streamline mental health services for Connecticut children and families.

“By improving access to mental health services and by engaging families in treatment, we can get children the help they need and prevent tragedies,” Sen. Linares said.

Sen. Linares is co-sponsoring the bipartisan proposal, which would:

  • Create an interconnected framework for schools and health providers that focuses on helping educators, parents and health providers identify mental health issues in children and guide them toward proper treatment options.
  • Create a regional network of child psychiatrists that consults with a child’s primary care provider if a parent raises mental health concerns.
  • Encourage schools, mental health care agencies and others to improve communication and coordination to quickly identify and refer children.
  • Require that upon the request of a parent, the proposed Office of Early Childhood coordinate a system of home visitation programs for vulnerable families.
  • Require the state Department of Public Health conduct a public information campaign on children’s emotional and behavioral health.
  • Establish a bipartisan Children’s Mental Health Task Force to study the effects of nutrition, genetics, psychotropic drugs on mental, emotional and behavioral health.

“This legislation is comprehensive and well-crafted. It can make a positive difference in people’s lives,” Sen. Linares said. “I believe everyone in the 33rd district and Connecticut believes we can do more to improve access to mental health services. This bill does just that.”

“What happened in Newtown is such a horrible tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to all of the families affected,” Sen. Linares added. “My goal as state senator is to do all I can to protect the citizens of this state. I believe this bill will make our communities safer, and I look forward to seeing it become part of our state law.”

The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives. The bill can be found here.

Earlier this year, Sen. Linares served on the Bipartisan Task Force’s School Safety Working Group, which was created in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy. He is the ranking member on the Committee on Children and serves on the Education Committee.