Mental Health Care Crisis In Texas

Texas – Law enforcement officers are becoming frontline social workers in a state where mental health funding has always been inadequate.

Mental health services are suffering under the strain of a strapped Texas budget, leaving law enforcement to pick up the slack of a load they have neither the training nor the manpower to bear.

Police and sheriff's departments say the number of mental health calls they respond to is snowballing. And thanks to a budget shortfall that could reach $27 billion, it may get worse.

Lawmakers are contemplating slashing mental health services by 20 percent, making it more likely for the mentally ill to end up behind bars.

Law enforcement departments are making mental health training a greater part of their curriculum to deal with the load.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.