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Wood co-leads hearing of Mental Health Working Group

Published 3:58 pm, Saturday, February 2, 2013
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State Rep. Terrie Wood, R-141, was the co-chairman of the Mental Health Working Group on Tuesday, Jan. 29, in Hartford.

She joined Democratic and Republican legislative leaders along with municipal officials, professionals and the public from around the state as the working group, part of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention & Children's Safety, conducted informational and public hearings to address matters relating to the mental health public and private delivery systems and the courts.

The Mental Health Working Group is one of three subcommittees of the task force that was formed earlier this month to address key mental health issues as a result of the tragedy in Newtown, where 20 children and six adults were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.

The hearing included testimony on a broad range of topics, including the availability of mental health resources and crisis intervention in schools, the public delivery system, the private delivery system, the court system, mental health parity, early identification, prevention and follow-up, gaps in coverage, duty to report and involuntary outpatient treatment.

During the public hearing, parents, various mental health professionals, and members of the community expressed their comments and concerns regarding the mental health system. One of the most moving testimonies was from Nelba Marquez-Greene, mother of Sandy Hook victim Ana Marquez-Greene. Marquez-Greene's sister spoke on her behalf in the form of a written testimony. Marquez-Greene is not only a grieving mother, but she is also a program coordinator for the Family Therapy Institute at Klingberg Family Centers and Central Connecticut State University adjunct faculty.

Wood called her courage "exemplary."

"We are here for all of you," Wood said to her, and requested a copy of Marquez-Greene's testimony.

"We heard very good information today," Wood said. "I'm grateful to all who came to share their thoughts and experience. It is up to us now to come up with some legislation that will provide a productive and specific solution to the problem of mental health challenges in our state."

On Wednesday, the full task force met at Newtown High School for another hearing.

For information, visit www.cga.ct.gov/ASaferConnecticut/. Public hearings may be viewed online at www.ctn.state.ct.us/ondemand.asp.