An op-ed written by Dr. Bob Vero, CEO of Centerstone of Tennessee, in response to proposed state budget cuts for mental health services appears in today’s online edition of The Tennessean. It begins:
Two years ago, I was honored to stand before the Senate Health Committee in Washington, D.C., to testify about the need for improved mental healthcare across our nation. It was early 2013 and the United States was reeling from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that had taken place just weeks before in Newtown, Conn. The country and its leaders were attuned, like never before, to the importance of mental healthcare and funding—and the lack thereof that likely contributed to the path to that national heartbreak.
I’ve thought about that hearing and its aftermath a great deal in recent weeks. At the time, we were collectively, and desperately, searching for solutions to improve care to both stave off another tragedy and to simply help our fellow citizens dealing with mental health challenges. Unfortunately, that desire to provide the right care to those who need it may be forgotten today. Right here in our own state, Tennessee officials have proposed that we cut funding for mental health services.