Texas Gov. Greg Abbott attributed the Uvalde school shooting to “mental health” issues but his administration slashed funding for mental health programs, NBC News reports.
“We as a state - we as a society - need to do a better job with mental health,” Abbott said after the shooting. “Anybody who shoots somebody else has a mental health challenge. Period. We as a government need to find a way to target that mental health challenge and do something about it.”
On Friday, Abbott vowed to address mental health care despite slashing funding.
“You can expect a robust discussion, and my hope is laws passed, that I will sign, addressing health care in this state. There is an array of healthcare issues that we face as a state in general but there are an array of healthcare issues that relate to those who commit gun crimes in particular. Those need to be addressed,” Abbott said. “... If there’s anybody here who thinks we have perfect health care in this country or in this world - they’re wrong. If there’s anybody who thinks we can’t do more to address mental health care - they’re wrong. We can and we’re going to.”
Abbott slashed funding:
Abbott’s administration in April cut $211 million from the department that oversees health programs.
A recent report found that Texas ranks dead last out of all 50 states in overall access to mental health.
Experts say Texas highlights the glaring fact that the US “doesn’t invest enough in mental health.”
“We also do not take a preventative approach,” Tamar Mendelson, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told NBC. “We don’t do it enough in school settings, where we can provide critically needed care to young people. And we lack ‘culturally competent’ care, like for example, Spanish-speaking therapists.”
"Overall, mass shooters are rational. They have a plan,” David Riedman, founder of the Center for Homeland Defense and Security’s K-12 School Shooting Database, told NBC. “It’s something that develops over months or years, and there’s a clear pathway to violence.”
“There is no evidence the shooter is mentally ill, just angry and hateful,” Lori Post, director of the Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics at the Northwestern University School of Medicine, told the network. “While it is understandable that most people cannot fathom slaughtering small children and want to attribute it to mental health, it is very rare for a mass shooter to have a diagnosed mental health condition.”
“Texas has more guns per capita than any other state,” Post added. “After the tragic 2019 mass shooting in El Paso, the governor signed several bills to curb mass shootings; unfortunately, most of those bills involved arming the public to stop mass shooters."