Steps being taken on mental health issues

I read with interest Kenton Robinson's op-ed "Stigma of Mental Illness deepens post Sandy Hook," (April 28). He made some disturbing and all too true points.

The legislature's Committee on Children is fully aware of the stigma he refers to; often a person will not seek help for fear of being stigmatized. We partially addressed this in the Sandy Hook response, focusing on "Mental Health First Aid," a wonderful program that focuses on early recognition.

In addition, we are working on SB 972 which focuses on children from birth to 16 (the Sandy Hook legislation was directed mainly at 16 and up) with proven effective home visitation as well as non-traditional therapies for treatment of mental illness.

To try to identify disturbed individuals who might go on to become school shooters, we are advocating for HB 6690 that puts UConn law school students in court as animal advocates.

From 1997 to 2001 virtually all seven school shooters nationwide were involved in criminal animal cruelty before their school rampage. Of 3,699 cases of animal cruelty in Connecticut, a mere 16 percent resulted in conviction. The remaining 84 percent were given Accelerated Rehabilitation or nolled, with records erased and the chance to intervene and possibly save our children erased with them.

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