HARRISBURG – April 25, 2019 – State Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny/Westmoreland) – a strong advocate for additional mental health funding — applauded state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s recent call for more mental health resources to prevent gun deaths.
“A key to reducing reduce gun deaths is properly funding mental health services,” Brewster said.
At a visit to a central Pennsylvania emergency room Tuesday, DePasquale drew the connection between the lack of mental health funding and firearm deaths, according to media reports.
“We need additional mental health services and facilities,” Brewster said.
Earlier this year, Brewster called for using a portion of the estimated $581 million from the legalization of marijuana to build facilities to help those struggling with mental health issues. The McKeesport lawmaker said he is also working to garner additional dollars for mental health through the state budget process.
“If marijuana is legalized, the revenue generated from its taxes and regulation should be earmarked for specific purposes,” Brewster said. “Providing more funds for mental health services and new facilities should be a priority.”
Last November, DePasquale issued a report “A Safer Pennsylvania: A Community Approach to Firearm Safety” that included 12 recommendations. The first two recommendations called for expanded access to mental health care and embarking on an awareness campaign to help people overcome the stigma associated with seeking mental health services.