Platform: Mental Health
Sylvester Turner says our police department should not be the primary provider of mental health services.
Our current approach to mental health overburdens our public safety system, leaving our jails and emergency rooms as de facto mental health advisors. This crisis-based approach to mental health operates to the detriment of individuals suffering mental health issues, and it puts our communities at risk.
The Houston Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team has assisted many of our citizens with mental health issues who unfortunately come in contact with law enforcement, getting them the help they need without putting them into the criminal justice system. While HPD is indeed leading the nation in dealing with mental health crisis, the fact remains that our police department should not be our front line mental health providers.
That is why, as a legislator, Sylvester led the fight to increase mental health funding to Harris County from $32 million to $200 million. That additional funding could have been leveraged into as much as $600 million in additional federal matching funds, to expand and improve our mental health facilities and substance abuse treatment.
As mayor, Sylvester will continue to work with the state and our Congressional representatives to make sure that Houston has the mental health funding it needs and that our police are no longer shouldering an unfair burden of responsibility.