ST. LOUIS — St. Louis County Executive Sam Page renewed his call for more mental health services in the county and tougher federal gun laws, a day after 19 children and two adults were killed in a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school.
Page explained the need to expand mental health services at a news conference on Wednesday, saying the need far exceeds capacity in the region. He noted that continuing to improve mental health is one of the most important things the county can do in the wake of Tuesday’s tragedy in Texas.
“More needs to be done given the overwhelming needs of the community,” Page said.
According to Page, the St. Louis Department of Public Health is on track to treat more mental health cases than at any time in the last five years. After assisting more than 2,300 cases last year, the department is on track to assist with more than 3,000 calls in 2022.
According to Page, the department would consider two mental health interventions as more state or federal funding becomes available. More mental health case management would be a priority, allowing the county to coordinate a professional or team to precisely meet an individual’s needs. Page also suggests more treatment to combat substance abuse.
In the coming weeks, Page said, the department plans to expand its opioid action plan to tackle substance abuse. This would allow the county to increase the availability of NARCAN and focus more mental health efforts on high-risk populations. Page said these services will be available as part of $45 million flowing into the county from the state’s $458 million opioid settlement.
Page also explained the importance of mental health providers connecting with children in the county. A hotline for young people is available around the clock in the district. Parents can reach the hotline at 314-819-8802 or bhrstl.org to help.
While explaining the need for expanded mental health services in St. Louis, Page addressed the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.
“My comments today focused on mental health, but I cannot step down without saying that we need to have stricter gun laws in our country. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We must protect our future.”
In response to the shooting, Page called for stricter federal gun control laws and a repeal of Missouri’s Second Amendment Preservation Act.
https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/thoughts-and-prayers-wont-do-it-page-says-stronger-gun-laws-needed-after-school-shooting/ “Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough,” Page says, of the need for stricter gun laws after school shootings