Texas children’s hospitals seeking funds to improve mental health care across the state
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas state lawmakers have set aside $300 million that, if approved, would go to fund mental health programs in children’s hospitals across the state, including Covenant Children’s here in Lubbock.
Amy Thompson, CEO of Covenant Children’s, says it is especially needed now, with hospitals seeing more and more mental health concerns in children.
“We have always had an issue with this in children and adolescences, we have always had low amounts of resources in things like this, but certainly during the pandemic, those things have increased,” Thompson said.
Suicide was the second leading cause of death in children ages 10 to 14 last year, according to the Children’s Hospital Association of Texas. Thompson says mental health facilities and resources are not cheap, which is why state funding is crucial.
“Hospitals have struggled to continue to keep these types of services that lose so much money, but we know that it is so important,” Thompson said.
Thompson says one of the first obstacles Covenant Children’s plans to tackle if the state approves the funds, is providing early prevention programs, to try and lower the number of children who develop mental health crises.
“You don’t want to wait until a kid is coming into your facility because they are suicidal, so trying to have services with your school districts, with other folks in town who are trying to do preventative care as well as intervening early is so important,” Thompson said.
The funding would also help projects that are already in motion, like Covenant Children’s Outpatient Relational Health Center. Thompson is confident with the help of the state, the new center could provide inpatient care as well.
“We hope to secure the rest of the funding to move to some inpatient beds, which in Lubbock would be the first child and adolescent inpatient beds of their kind,” Thompson said.
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