Panel reviews WI mental health services in wake of gun violence - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Panel reviews WI mental health services in wake of gun violence


MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Scott Walker wants to review mental health services in the state. This comes in the wake of President Obama's gun control plan laid out last week.

WXOW in La Crosse reports Tuesday, about two dozen mental health experts from around the state will meet at the Capitol for a panel discussion about how to improve Wisconsin's mental health services. Governor Walker says he believes one of the fundamental issues at the root of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut and here in Wisconsin, is a lack of those services.

The panel, which will include a psychologist from Gundersen Lutheran, will talk about how the state can better fund programs for the mentally ill and end the stigmas associated with mental health. Anne Stekel, Administrative Director of Behavioral Health, says, "Some of the things that we may address in the budget, in terms of funding targeting crisis intervention and other things that would help the community. I think there needs to be more of a focus on additional services in schools for earlier identification and earlier intervention. Teachers and staff really need a lot of support in knowing how to deal with children who are struggling with mental illness."

Stekel says while these mass shootings draw attention to the need for mental health services, it's important to remember the overwhelming majority of those with mental illness are not violent.

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