Increased and improved mental health services at the local level has to happen. Our schools are failing to identify and engage troubled young people, especially those whose problems are not obvious. There is a woeful lack of other community-based mental health resources for people with mental illness and their families. Parents must be active partners in this process, working with the schools and other local groups to ensure that their children are identified, evaluated and connected with the services and supports that are available. They cannot wait until it is too late to avoid a tragedy.
Mental health is inherent to overall health. As a nation, we must view it this way.
Over the past week, the President has been forceful in his focus on gun safety regulations and our need to address the mental health care system. These are both critical efforts and the former cannot take precedence over the later.
The president backed up his words on gun control by appointing Vice President Biden to drive a legislative effort; now he must appoint a person of comparable stature to drive the mental health reform and legislative process.
Wright is the co-founder of Autism Speaks and the former CEO of NBC Universal.