INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Is there enough help for people with loved ones trying to cope with mental illness?
The Sandy Hook tragedy is raising that question.
"In Indiana, there are probably about 300,000 people that could be dealing with a serious mental illness at any given time. The state serves about 100,000 of those folks," says Joshua Sprunger, Interim Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Indiana, NAMI, as it's known.
Sprunger says funding for mental illness can be a tough sell in state legislatures. "Part of that is because of the current economic climate. Some of it is because of stigma around serious mental illness," he says.
According to Nami's national organization, Indiana's budget for mental health dropped nearly $25 million in the past year. About 9% from 2011-2012.
"In Indiana, we're fortunate to have all of our counties covered with community mental health centers," says Dr. Alan Schmetzer, a psychiatrist with IU Health. Dr. Schmetzer says the Sandy Hook killings, specifically raised the fear of someone becoming violent.
Dr. Schmetzer says you can deal with that in two ways in Indiana. One is for you to call police, who because of the state's immediate detention law, can hold someone for 24 hours. "The other thing that we have, is a situation for involuntary holds that do go through the court and due process and those can be requested pretty much at any community mental health center," he says.
Another option, Mental Health America Indianapolis' 24 Hour crisis hotline. "It could be people ranging from having a bad day they just need to talk, to individuals that could be actively suicidal," says Nakaisa Tolbert-Banks. Tolbert-Banks says her group can help with even simple guidance.
"And so in the case of what happened last Friday we're able to utilize our services to hand out to other people," she says.
One of the biggest problems is getting people in need into the system.
The process can be slow and difficult. Money, they say would help speed it up and make it possible to solve problems more quickly. But all point out, right now it's not clear whether accused shooter Adam Lanza had mental illness.
But they say the questions being raised by what happened may help start discussions nationwide, that could help move resources that are needed to help those with mental illness.
The mother of two young girls saved by 16-year-old Aubrey Peters more than three years ago, says Peters is truly a hero.
The Indianapolis City-County Council decided a couple of prominent proposals still need some work during a meeting on Monday.
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