Mental health cuts linked to violence - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Mental health cuts linked to violence

Last week's police shooting of a teen at Roosevelt High School has placed a spotlight on cuts to mental illness programs for children.

The boy -- who pulled a knife on police -- had a history of schizophrenia and family members said he was in desperate need of intensive mental health services but was unable to get adequate treatment.

"It's clear to me that this could have been prevented, should have been prevented," his attorney Eric Seitz said.

The shooting is just the latest violent incident involving mentally ill child. And the teen's experiences have parallels to that of another Roosevelt High School student, who wound up committing suicide in 2011.

Last year, Seitz filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education and the Health Department on behalf of that teen, alleging that the state cut off the boy's intensive mental health services, contributed to his suicide.

And then there's the case of Tittleman Fauatea, who brutally killed a Waianae High School teacher in 2009. During his sentencing, Fauatea's lawyer Barry Sooalo said his client had a case file 800 pages thick that documented his life-long struggle with mental illnesses.

Mental health advocates said cut to children's mental health programs are a ticking time bomb that have already gone off several times.

Marya Grambs, executive director of the Mental Health America of Hawaii, said there are more than 12,000 children in Hawaii with serious mental problems, but there are only 43 hospital beds for them.

And because of cutbacks during the Gov. Linda Lingle's administrations and lack of coordination between state agency, many of these children are falling through the cracks, she said.

"Your kid could be with the DOE having problems, or the DOH having problems, Public Safety, and none of them are talking to each other," said Grambs.

"It's a systemic problem."

The good news is that some of the Lingle era cuts are being restored by the Gov. Neil Abercrombie's administration but it may be years before mental health services for children return to more healthy levels.

Copyright 2014 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved. 

  • Hawaii News Now headlinesNewsMore>>

  • Puerto Rico marks 1 year since Maria with song and sadness

    Puerto Rico marks 1 year since Maria with song and sadness

    Thursday, September 20 2018 12:58 PM EDT2018-09-20 16:58:38 GMT
    Friday, September 21 2018 6:06 AM EDT2018-09-21 10:06:18 GMT
    (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa). In this Sept. 8, 2018 photo, Alma Morales Rosario poses for a portrait between the beams of her home being rebuilt after it was destroyed by Hurricane Maria one year ago in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Morovis, Puerto Rico...(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa). In this Sept. 8, 2018 photo, Alma Morales Rosario poses for a portrait between the beams of her home being rebuilt after it was destroyed by Hurricane Maria one year ago in the San Lorenzo neighborhood of Morovis, Puerto Rico...
    Puerto Ricans are marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria with choirs, protests and a funeral procession.More >>
    Puerto Ricans are marking the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria with choirs, protests and a funeral procession.More >>
  • Man dies in officer-involved shooting at Honolulu highrise

    Man dies in officer-involved shooting at Honolulu highrise

    Friday, September 21 2018 4:09 AM EDT2018-09-21 08:09:13 GMT
    A man was killed Thursday evening in an officer-involved shooting at a Honolulu highrise. (Image: Hawaii News Now)A man was killed Thursday evening in an officer-involved shooting at a Honolulu highrise. (Image: Hawaii News Now)

    Police reportedly fatally shot a suspect after an operation at the Century Center building.

    More >>

    Police reportedly fatally shot a suspect after an operation at the Century Center building.

    More >>
  • Telling men to 'step up,' Sen. Hirono strides into spotlight

    Telling men to 'step up,' Sen. Hirono strides into spotlight

    Thursday, September 20 2018 6:29 PM EDT2018-09-20 22:29:45 GMT
    Friday, September 21 2018 1:52 AM EDT2018-09-21 05:52:43 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., left, is applauded by demonstrators as the arrive to speak to reporters in support of professor Christine Blasey Ford, who is accusing Supreme Court nomi...(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., left, is applauded by demonstrators as the arrive to speak to reporters in support of professor Christine Blasey Ford, who is accusing Supreme Court nomi...
    Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono steps into the spotlight as she has unexpectedly become one of the most outspoken senators in Christine Blasey Ford's defense.More >>
    Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono steps into the spotlight as she has unexpectedly become one of the most outspoken senators in Christine Blasey Ford's defense.More >>
Powered by Frankly