Orange County mayor asks for youth mental health program

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Orange County parent Shanna Notaro remembers how worried she was about her own children as she watched last year's horrific news of the shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

"It was heart wrenching to see what somebody could do to your children," said Notaro.

People who knew Adam Lanza called him a troubled loner. So Notaro said she is encouraged that Mayor Teresa Jacobs is directing Orange County leaders to improve mental health for children.

The proposed youth program would add six experts to an existing program housed in a building on Michigan Avenue.

"Any type of program that could help a child that is having problems, I am for," said Notaro.

Employees of the program are tipped off about troubled children by their families, as well as the school and criminal justice system.

Because of the stigma associated with mental issues, Channel 9's Tim Barber asked how health care workers will make sure the kids don't feel ashamed.

"That kid is not coming into an office. That kid is not being sent to treatment somewhere or having to see a therapist. We go to them," said Donna Wyche with Orange County.

The extra resources will cost the county $2.3 million a year.

Jacobs said she would eventually like to see the state take over the funding.

"Until we have a statewide program that meets the needs of our community we want to do something to step up," said Jacobs.

Notaro said she is just glad someone is doing something, and she hopes it will decrease the chances of ever seeing anything like Sandy Hook in central Florida.