(WWJ) More talk about mental health has emerged as part of the gun debate in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting that left 17 people dead. The conversation has spurred Michigan’s GOP lawmakers to agree to spend extra money to make 300 psychiatric beds available.
As we hear from WWJ Lansing Bureau Tim Skubick, Democrats says that’s only part of the potential solution.
“They say it’s not only a mental health problem, it’s a gun problem,” Skubick reported. “Republicans are not so much interested in dealing with that.”
Additional legislation would also require public schools to provide mental health first-aid courses for teachers, and impose time limits before court defendants and candidates for prison parole get psychiatric exams.
Another bill creates a psychiatric bed registry to streamline hospital placement and emergency room wait times for mental health patients. Yet another bill on the topic enacts time limits on psychological testing of court defendants and potential prison parolees.
But many in the GOP considered the additional beds for care a positive, concrete step.
“The problem has always been we can treat mental health, but where do you put the people to get treatment,” Skubick said. “And now lawmakers are picking up on this in the wake of all this gun violence stuff. Mental health has become a major issue.”