Advocacy groups and law enforcement officials are determined to make more progress next year on mental health reforms. Despite the failure of several important bills, the effort over the last three years went a long way toward building consensus among a wide range of groups on what is needed. And the first consensus is that the status quo is no longer acceptable.

Paleo believes that human contact helped her deal with mental illness more than medications did. Courtesy Janet Paleo
Paleo believes that human contact helped her deal with mental illness more than medications did. Courtesy Janet Paleo

“There is a long history of the rights of people living with mental illness being robbed by a society that didn’t understand mental illness or the potential for recovery and wellness,” the Hogg Foundation’s Horton said. “We have to keep talking about the tough issues until we understand each other’s perspectives fully and get as close to the right answers as possible.”

Maurice Dutton is turning his son’s tragedy into an opportunity to help people like Michael.

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  1. Edward, thank you for highlighting the challenges that Texas faces in mental health and in substance use; and for the successes we have made; and for spotlighting some of our champions. I especially thank you for the human dimension of your article. Let us all continue to advance recovery and wellness in Texas. Sincerely, Dr. M

  2. What outcomes are the state’s mental health providers fostering? Do individuals who can access treatment obtain that care which makes a difference?

    • Joe. Good questions. There are still problems about ease and quality of access. There are more resources going into teleconferencing technology that will allow psychiatrists to assist people in remote parts of the state, a long-time problem. There appears to be more emphasis on peer-to-peer counseling and a new philosophical approach that emphasizes recovery (learning to live with symptoms) over being cured. I was also impressed to see efforts to reach children and give public school teachers mental “first aid” training.

  3. This was a really excellent article about some of the mental health challenges in Texas. I’m a psych student, and I’ve found it shocking that in Texas, the prison system because the avenue of treatment for many with mental illness because of lack of resources and legislative support in Texas. This is a good start, but we should only see this as a beginning, the system is still severely broken and needs help.

  4. Sir,
    my deepest sympathies to you, your wife & any one else touched by such a tragic loss. Mental health is a complex area, but certainly not resolved in a prison environment.
    If there is anything I am able to help you with please contact me on Linked-in.
    Maurice Dutton
    Safety Consultant
    Trainer & Assessor
    Cairns Australia