Two mothers are speaking out in favor of legislation which gained final approval Friday to better coordinate mental health programs for children. Jan Maksel is a Newtown resident who says her youngest son escaped from his first grade classroom after seeing his teacher and best friends murdered. She says the fact that the shooter fell through the cracks of the mental health system does not surprise her.
Nelba Marquez Greene is a family therapist whose daughter Ana was killed on December 14th.
The will lead to early identification and intervention. She hopes this is the beginning of a long overdue effort to increase access to mental health treatment and reduce what can be a debilitating stigma that goes along with seeking help.
The legislation seeks to increase coordination among agencies, schools, health centers and families, and reduce the stigma associated with seeking help for mental health issues.
The bill also mandates a home visitation program for vulnerable families with young children.
Republican Rep. Whit Betts of Bristol, the ranking House member of the Children's Committee, described the legislation as the General Assembly's "collective answer to the Newtown incident".