January 25, 2013

Family Voices Supports Efforts To Enhance Safety for Kids by Improving the Mental Health System


Family Voices Supports Efforts To Enhance Safety for Kids by Improving the Mental Health System

This past week President Obama proposed a set of reforms intended to curb gun violence and enhance the mental health system in support of safety for children. Family Voices stands behind these efforts, particularly with respect to increasing family access to mental health services, and providing training for mental health professionals in violence prevention. 

The President asked Congress to act on four legislative measures: closing background check loopholes; banning military-style assault weapons and limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines; implementing strategies for enhancing school safety; and increasing access to mental health services.

Commenting on the last of these, Obama stated:

"We will make sure mental health professionals know their options for reporting threats of violence-even as we acknowledge that someone with a mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the perpetrator."

Along these lines, he has signed Executive Actions to:

  • Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover
  • Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges
  • Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations, and
  • Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health

Family Voices Executive Director Lynn Pedraza said:

"Family Voices is pleased about the interest and actions of the Administration and Congress to address the needs of children and youth by creating a more efficient and effective mental health system. We know from our work with families how difficult it can be for many of them to get help for their children who live with mental health problems. We also support measures to ban assault weapons and protect children from gun violence."

For more information about Family Voices please visit www.familyvoices.org,
or contact Family Voices Director of Communications and Strategic Initiatives,
Melanie Rubin,
mrubin@familyvoices.org or call 505-872-4774.