Vern Buchanan: Fund Services for Mentally Ill to Avoid Future Newtowns

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, has requested the House fund health services for the mentally ill in the wake of the killings in Newtown, Conn.

Buchanan sent the following letter requesting the funding on Wednesday to President Obama and House Speaker Boehner, R-Ohio:

Dear President Obama & Speaker Boehner:

In light of the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I hope you will be sensitive to funding essential mental health services as part of the year-end fiscal negotiations. Preliminary reports indicate the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary was a deeply troubled young man with serious mental health issues, similar to the shooter who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007. These tragic events underscore the need to refocus attention on screening and treating mentally ill people who may now be falling through the cracks..

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 20 percent of children and adolescents in the U.S. suffer from some form of mental illness. A shocking 70 percent of these children go undiagnosed or receive no treatment for their affliction. Statistics show that people with untreated mental health conditions are at higher risk of engaging in criminal activity and entering the criminal justice system.

I fully recognize and support the need to reduce federal spending as we work to shrink our massive debt. But it is also clear that failing to adequately address the issue of mental illness places a heavy toll on social services, our prison system and our communities.

As one of only 47 Republicans to support the Mental Health Parity Act, I encourage both parties to work together and ensure that essential mental health programs are available for our children, families and communities. I hope you will strive to achieve the proper balance between the need to reduce spending and the funding necessary to carry out these vital mental services for all Americans.


Vern Buchanan

Member of Congress.

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Comments (3)

Duane Overholt
10:00AM DEC 21ST 2012
You continue to surprize me with your actions and words. You blame most of Sandy Hook on mental health and say there should be more screening and refused to comment on gun control in the orginal story. At the same time you want to cut spending for the prgrams that would do the screening and you hide the fact that your office receives millions in lobby money from gun companies for the republican party.

When questioned on this issue you come back with a letter asking for funding.

A letter you know will not be taken serious by republicans. A letter done simply to make it look like you care. All the time knowing nothing will happen.

Vern once a used car salesman, always a used car salesman.

Sad thing is some people will believe your crap.

Duane overholt Consumer Advocate
Duane Overholt
9:46AM DEC 20TH 2012
No matter how mentally ill the shooter is: he had access to and was trained to use automatic high powered assault weapons that have only one use. That is to kill. They are not defensive weapons, target weapons or used for hunting. If he did not have access to these weapons and bullets that went with it, then 20 children and 5 teachers may still be alive.

The simple question is this: who needs a assault weapon and high impact bullets designed to go through walls and are designed only to kill. Hunting weapon---YES-------DEFENSIVE HAND GUN-----yes.

OH!!! I am sorry we do need these weapons to defend ourselves from revolutions, invasions, our military, ALIENS, kids playing music to loud from their car radios and we do not want to forget the nuts with mental issues that already own them.

Simple and not difficult: Vern Buchanan heads up the part of the GOP that acquires donations and lobby money. The gun lobbies give millions to the republican party through Vern’s office. It is a matter of money and you know it Vern.

I do not see the GOP making the same demands for answers and changes to preserve life, as they have related to Benghazi and 4 persons whom lost their lives there. Funding cuts demanded by republicans was a major cause in what happened in Benghazi.

If this happens again will the GOP admit it was somewhat their fault because they failed to act to protect our citizens and preserved their lobby money instead.

Where are the party leaders that head up the party of faith. They would rather make a point against the democratic involved in Benghazi than protect our own children. They would rather put their energy into getting tax credit for themselves and their rich friends than to even offer a prayer for the victims from Sandy Hook on a national platform.

The GOP of today is not the party of yesterday that was based on faith and did everything it could to protect the middle class. Voters have to wake up and protect what is left from the rights it took over a 100 years to get. Rights that the GOP has promised to perserve and have instead taken away.

Duane overholt -- Consumer Advocate
Jon Osterholm
12:24AM DEC 20TH 2012
While I don't think the letter from Rep. Buchanan quite sets the tone I strongly want our leaders to take with regard to addressing the lingering worries brought to the surface by the massacre in Conn., it is far better than the proposal announced by the White House. So, thank you, Mr. Buchanan.

Mental health is the correct issue to lead with. For this missive, overlooking the matter of funding, I insist that our leaders look at the issue the congressman focuses on, because it is the right issue. We must be much more actively concerned with a path out of our fear of serious mental problems, and inability to face them without deep stigma.

The White House topped the agenda with concerns about the assumed ease of gun ownership. Secondary concerns -- to be clear, not the primary focus of the proposal -- were the mental health and broad cultural connections.

I'm sorry, Mr. President, but to make guns the leading issue and not mental illness is a failure practically and culturally.

I'd say Buchanan is off to a much better start. (Aside: I don't have a problem with assault weapons being reasonably limited, but I'm not an owner or user of one.)

I look forward to state and national headers addressing the correct issues, in the correct order, with the correct amount of importance applied, where such horrendous tragedies as Sandy Hook are concerned. I hope Rep. Buchanan will be joined by many more alternative thinkers from that which the White House has proposed.

With enough clear, rational and sincere voices, we may even change the priorities of the White House in the wake of this tragedy.

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