FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 11/16/2015
Rep. Murr Appointed to Select Committee on Mental Health
Committee Charged with Improving Texas’ Approach to Treatment
Last week, the Speaker of the Texas House formed the House Select Committee on Mental Health in order to take a comprehensive view of how to improve the state’s behavioral health system for children and adults. Among those members appointed to the select committee was Representative Andrew Murr (R-Junction), whose district includes Kerr County, home to one of the state’s twelve mental health hospitals and the Hill Country Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MHDD) Centers Administrative Headquarters, which serves a 19-county area.
One of the Speaker’s key charges to the committee is to recommend ways to improve early identification of mental illness and increase collaboration among entities that deliver care. Additionally, the committee will address better processes to measure and improve outcomes, how to better serve rural areas of the state, and how to provide better care to veterans.
Representative Murr said of the appointment, “Mental illness is a significant problem in our state, and when left unchecked, it can have challenging consequences for families and communities. At the same time, we have finite resources available to address adult and juvenile mental health needs, so it’s vital that we come together to chart the path forward that will create the most efficient and effective system to treat the mentally ill. Importantly, we have to bridge gaps across a variety of agencies and expertise areas – from individual training to insurance to our criminal justice and juvenile justice systems. Rural Texas sometimes is lacking in all the tools and expertise we need to best meet Texans' mental health needs."
The Kerrville State Hospital, which was founded in 1951, provides long-term treatment for adults who have been committed by a court. Roughly half of those admitted were deemed incompetent to stand trial, while the other half were adjudicated as guilty by reason of insanity.
The Hill Country MHDD Centers provide mental health, individual developmental disability, substance abuse, and early childhood intervention services throughout the greater Texas Hill Country. This organization works with local governments and includes a crisis stabilization unit, youth crisis respite center, and intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) behavioral supports and crisis center.
Legislators increased mental health funding by more than $200 million when they met earlier this year, with the current two-year budget appropriating $1.8 billion per year to mental health services across the state.