Texas Republicans are again aiming for the role of super-villain, as they aim to strip away mental healthcare from millions of children.
The Texas Republicans are having their state convention down in Houston this week. It lasts all week, and they’re broadcasting it on YouTube, Facebook, and their website. (They might be posting it on Twitter, too. But I wouldn’t know since the Texas GOP Twitter account blocked me after that one time I made Allen West cry.)
During their convention, delegates decide what they want on the Texas Republicans’ platform. They talk about it, vote on it, write their new platform, and spend the next two years pushing elected officials to enact their wish list. There are a lot of things on their platform we’re going to have to talk about. But today, we’re going to talk about how they want to abolish mental healthcare for children in the State of Texas, including the victims of the Uvalde massacre.
You can find the entire document related to the Health and Human Services portion of their platform HERE.
What does their platform say about mental healthcare for children?
“We support abolishing the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium”
“the trauma-informed care policy,”
“school-based mental health providers,”
“school-based or school-connected mental health intervention,”
“other public school programs that serve to expand access to minors.”
“Legislators shall prohibit all reproductive healthcare services in public schools.”
If you’re wondering what the last point has to do with mental healthcare, the name of this plank is “Parental Safeguard.”
What is the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium?
According to their website, The Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium (TCMHCC) was created by the 86th Texas Legislature to leverage the expertise and capacity of the health-related institutions of higher education to address urgent mental health challenges and improve the mental health care system in this state in relation to children and adolescents.
Right now, any mental healthcare for the children and families of the Uvalde massacre is coming from the state directly from the Consortium.
On top of all the other harm, this plank would do to children; Texas Republicans want to strip away access to mental healthcare for the Uvalde victims and survivors. (Yet, according to the GOP, we have a mental health problem, not a gun problem.)
What is the trauma-informed care policy?
You can find the full text of the policy HERE. It is an education code requiring the integration of trauma-informed practices in each school environment, including substance abuse prevention and intervention and suicide prevention.
Do you remember when the State of Texas removed the LGBTQ youth suicide hotline after Don Huffines talked smack to Abbott over it? Texas Republicans hate the LGBTQ community so much that they want to take away any help or prevention for them regarding self-harm and suicide.
LGBTQ youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Instead, they are placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.
- More than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth (ages 13-24) seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S.
- At least one LGBTQ youth attempts suicide every 45 seconds.
- 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
It’s almost as if Texas Republicans want LGBTQ children to kill themselves. Because removing the policy that allows school officials to practice suicide prevention will lead to a high teen suicide rate in Texas.
What are school-based mental health providers?
According to the TEA, which Conservatives have dominated for the last 20 years, approximately one in six school-aged youth experiences impairments in life functioning, including impacts on academic achievement, due to mental illness. The number of students experiencing mental illness increases as young people grow older.
Mental health is critical to children’s success in school and life.
Texas school districts provide services to improve students’ mental, emotional, and social health. These services include individual and group assessments, interventions, and referrals.
Organizational assessment and consultation skills of counselors and psychologists contribute to students’ and the school environment’s health. Professionals such as certified school counselors, psychologists, and social workers provide these services.
And Texas Republicans want to strip this resource away from Texas children.
What is school-connected mental health intervention?
According to the TEA, mental health promotion is a public health concept of primary prevention. It seeks to foster individual competencies, resources, and psychological strengths and strengthen community assets to prevent mental disorders and enhance well-being and quality of life for people and communities.
If a guidance counselor in a school sees that a child is struggling with mental illness, depression, or suicidal thoughts, under current law, they can work with that child to help them enhance their well-being and quality of life.
Texas Republicans seek to end that.
Where does that leave Texas children?
Only 8% of Texas children have had access to mental healthcare in the last year, lower than the national average. Texas teenagers attempt suicide at a rate double the national average. High school students with depression are twice as likely to drop out of school than their peers. Seven out of ten youths in the juvenile justice system have a mental illness.
The fact remains that Texas children and teens need more and broader access to mental healthcare. Yet, Texas Republicans seek to strip what little access they have away.
Cruelty is the point.
It’s not enough that you vote. You must vote and make sure that all of your friends and family are voting, too. It can get worse, and it will get worse. Vote because your children’s lives depend on it.
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