Newtown massacre draws attention to mental health services - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Newtown massacre draws attention to mental health services

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WARREN, Ohio - As authorities look for answers to the mass tragedy in Newtown, it's causing a renewed debate over the availability and effectiveness of mental health services.

To prevent another Newtown, President Obama said he would use whatever power his office has to engage mental health professionals.

April Caraway, Executive Director of the Trumbull County Mental Health Board, says one of issues for those professionals is a recent pattern of funding cuts.

"People talks about pooling resources and working together, but the funding never seems to follow," Caraway said.

Caraway says her funding has been cut for the past three years. It's been the same experience for Meridian Services.

"When you look at the funding cuts that we have gotten in both mental health and drug and alcohol treatment, the problem is people getting access to the treatment," said Larry Moliterno from Merdian Services.

"A lot of people do fall through the safety net because there's not funding to provide those services," Caraway said.

In terms of young people, the agencies say they do work closely with schools. "We're trying to get to where every school district has an outside counseling agency coming in and taking those referrals from the teachers or counselors or the parents so they can work with those troubled kids," Caraway said.

Moliterno says identifying the signs and early treatment is critical. "We work very closely with our school systems and there is great cooperation and we are able to identify some of these kids who are at high risk and try to engage them into treatment early on."

The experts say that successful early treatments could prevent other tragedies like Newtown.

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