For More Information on
Mental Health Public Policy
or to be Added to the Online
Public Policy Alert:

Denise Brady, J.D.
Public Policy Director



On October 19, 2006, the Board of Directors of Mental Health America of Texas, formerly Mental Health Association in Texas, adopted the following legislative priorities for the 80th Texas Legislative Session, in order of priority:

1.) Department Of State Health Services Legislative Appropriation Request
Support the Department of State Health Services' 2008-2009 Legislative Appropriation Request (LAR), including funding to restore to mental health services and programs the 10% budget cuts directed by the Governor, and $82 million in new dollars to fund the Exceptional Item for mental health crisis services.

2.) Mental Health Equity In Private Health Insurance
Support legislation to require private health insurance plans to cover treatment for mental health disorders equal to coverage provided for physical disorders (i.e. mental health insurance equity, or "parity"). Support legislation to require a study of the cost, if any, of equitable mental health coverage currently provided to state of Texas employees.

3.) Students With Serious Emotional Disorders in Public Schools
Support improvements in the laws regarding how students with emotional disorders in public schools are treated when having disciplinary problems related to their illness.

4.) "Priority" Or "Target" Population For Community Mental Health Services
Support legislation that would require Community MHMR Centers to prioritize providing evidence-based services to individuals with mental illnesses based on the individual's need rather than on his or her diagnosis.

5.) Medicaid Reform
Impact legislative efforts to reform and improve state Medicaid services for individuals with mental illness.

6.) Housing
Support legislative efforts to improve the quality of housing options for individuals with mental illness by regulating board and care homes.

The Public Policy Committee at Mental Health America of Texas, formerly Mental Health Association in Texas, recognizes that there are a number of other important issues that impact the lives of children with serious emotional disorders and adults with mental illness that may be addressed in the upcoming legislative session. The organization will be involved in supporting or defeating those initiatives as time allows.

Mental Health Study
The state's leading advocates for people with mental illness released a landmark report documenting the economic and human costs of failing to prioritize mental health care and proposed a comprehensive agenda for improving the lives of the 4.2 million Texans who live with mental illness, the families who care for them, and the taxpayers who foot many of the bills.

Other Public Policy Information

Policy Resources