By Ashley Yarchin
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KSDK) - Mental health has become a huge part of the gun control debate, but some local experts say they're disappointed in the president's speech Wednesday regarding gun control.
President Obama called for rules requiring insurance companies to cover mental health services. He clarified that current health laws do not prohibit doctors from asking their patients about guns in their homes, nor do they prohibit providers from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement. The White House plan also calls for bolstering access to mental health services in schools and encouraging teachers to intervene early when they believe a student needs counseling.
"We appreciate that he did not tie mental illness to violence, to perpetuate that myth," said Mark Utterback, who is the president and CEO of Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri. "We were grateful for that. What we would like is an entirely different conversation, entirely different press conference that talks about our leaders finding ways to fund early intervention and early detection for people with mental illness."
NewsChannel 5 reached out and received several statements from a number of local lawmakers of both sides of the aisle regarding the president's comments today. While many disagree on gun control issues, all were in favor of increased attention being brought to the mental health arena.