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Gov. Nikki Haley: Newtown Shows Need For Mental Health Funding

Haley spoke at length for the first time about last Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

At a press conference where she was presenting her 2013-2014 budget, Gov. Nikki Haley spoke at length about the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., last Friday that claimed the lives of 26 people including 20 children.*

Haley said the shooting was, “Absolutely heartbreaking.”

“My hope and prayer is that those lives weren’t taken in vain and this country will have a conversation about mental health,” Haley said.

Haley’s response was a marked contrast to that of other governor’s, such as Virginia’s .

Haley said, ”If we do mental health treatment right, we can detect it in schools.

There are parents out there who are fearful for their children and have to make decisions for the children because they love them but they know they are a danger to society.”

The governor said mental health funding has long been a priority and the events in Connecticut hammered the point home.

“One in four people are affected by mental health issues. As a mother and a wife, I see it. And when you’re in an economic crisis you really start to see it. People feel desperate. This is a time where I hope people will say we’ve put mental health funding off long enough. We keep saying we’ll do it next year and then a Connecticut happens.”

When asked about possible gun control legislation Haley said, “We can’t be emotional. We have to step back and be smart. Connecticut has tough gun laws. Look at its mental health funding. No amount of gun control is going to prevent dangerous people from getting guns.”

According to this report from the National Association on Mental Illness, in 2009 South Carolina ranked 45th in per capita funding on mental illness at $60.24. Connecticut was 9th at $197.62. The national average was $122.90.

Haley called the previous administration’s funding levels for mental health “immoral” and has made it a priority to restore funding.

Haley did not comment on the proposed bill to arm teachers.

NOTE: This story originally listed the incorrect number of people killed in the Newtwon school shooting.

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stanley seigler December 20, 2012 at 08:46 PM
FYI [CLIP] study showed that by the 2011-12 [haley took office jan 2011] fiscal year, South Carolina’s budget for mental health care was nearly 40 percent smaller than it had been just three years earlier http://www.independentmail.com/news/2012/jan/25/gov-haley-calls-more-money-states-mentally-ill/ 'miles to go'...haley's mental health care 'sofa change' proposal is window dressing...sadly she is not alone...mental health funding is hind tit priority in most (all) states, eg; newtown's murder was, supposedly, on the autism spectrum...how was/are autism programs/support/special ed for children with autism funded in SC (other state as well) BTW i strongly disagree those with autism are more inclined to mass murders than society as a whole...maybe less so. that said; mental health should be a priority. sad it only becomes an issue when gun culture cowboys/girls (NRA lemmings) use it to divert attention from sensible gun control, eg: education, testing and licensing required for purchase of all but shot guns and hunting rifles...perhaps a ban a assault type weapons and magazine with capacity of over 10 shots...mental health is a straw man.
Lowcountry Larry December 20, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Actually, this report shows the South Carolina state mental health budget was cut by 39.3% from 2009 to 2012. Yet somehow, Nikki can say with a straight face that 'mental health funding has long been a priority'. Really? Meanwhile, the P&C is reporting that Haley is proposing a cut in income taxes, reducing revenue needed to meet the 'priority to restore funding' for mental health care, among other things.
Richard Hayes December 20, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Carolyn - Shawn is absolutely right -- Haley has NEVER supported increased funding for anything, much less Mental Health!! According to this report from the National Association on Mental Illness, in 2009 South Carolina ranked 45th in per capita funding on mental illness at $60.24. The national average was $122.90.
stanley seigler December 20, 2012 at 09:01 PM
re: So, is Nikki saying that there is no reason to even TRY to "prevent dangerous people from getting guns" ?? and many (eg, ms farr) agree w/ the gov...what the gov and NRA lemmings are doing (as you know) is diverting the issue from gun control to mental health. re: "No amount of gun control is going to prevent dangerous people from getting guns.” it is not either/or...both must be addressed...gun control is the first line of defense...also the cheapest and the easiest to implement...andand; unless someone can explain why an ak47 is needed to kill a rabbit...should have been implemented decades ago.
Robert Kelly December 21, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Newtown did not show the need for this in the schools. If the news I had read was correct, the shooter did not go to school and was home schooled. I am in favor of mental health programs, but it is not a thoughtful response to point out how this event demonstrates a need that would not have even been addressed if the funding were there. Weapons which shoot lots of bullets really quickly with large magazine cartridges will kill more people in less time; that is why they are manufactured and sold. These guns were owned by a person who would not have been flagged as mentally unstable, nor criminal. She let her unstable son use them, and he did the rest. Criminal background checks will not solve the problem, the existence of these weapons and the potentially uncontrolled use of them is the problem. Guns do in fact kill people.

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