Texas Mental Health Funding Leaves Gaps

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AUSTIN, Texas - - Texas lawmakers are rushing to plug holes in the mental health care system.

The 2-year budget proposal advanced by the state Senate this month contains about $226 million in new funds for treatment, prevention and education.

But lawmakers are scrambling to repair a patchwork system spread among community centers, state agencies and all levels of the criminal justice system.

The biggest new provision provides about $57 million to eliminate waiting lists at the state's 39 community health care centers. According to the Department of State Health Services, more than 6,200 adults and 286 children have been placed in line for treatment.

While the budget proposal also would provide $4 million for a publicity campaign, some analysts say the expanded services would still leave out broad segments of the mentally troubled.