Titusville councilman says children must have access to mental health counseling

A Titusville city councilman is trying to help kids who need more mental health services.

TITUSVILLE, Fla. — A Titusville city councilman seeks to help children who need more mental health services.

The city has agreed to his plan for a workshop to find a way to fund more effective services, but they're unsure what those services will be.

They said they'll start with figuring out what is needed, where the gaps are and how to fund it.

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Councilman Matt Barringer said the serious problem isn't going anywhere until governments on all levels take on some of the responsibility.

Tired of seeing how the tragic string of school shootings across the country and in Florida spark the same conversations, Barringer is taking action.

"Every time one of these tragic events happens, we say there's mental health issues for youth and then the followup has nothing to do with mental health," he said.

Barringer, who's also a Brevard County teacher and a father of five, said local governments are falling short in assessing and servicing juvenile mental health.

"I know that people see signs. I know that people make phone calls," he said. "When we make that phone call and have to wait six weeks to get a mental health counselor for one visit, that's not effective."

In his plan, Barringer proposes that any child who has harmed or threatened to harm himself or others be provided counseling until that child is cleared by a mental health professional.

To figure out how to pay for it, a city workshop led by a mental health expert will bring together local, state and congressional and school leaders.

Using the Parkland shooter as a case study, they'll assess gaps in funding and how they might be filled.

"At the end of it, if you're not willing to stand up and fund helping a child get better, then I don't know who you're serving."

Another part of his proposal would remove students from secondary schools within city limits who bring ammunition to school.