Mother advocates for mental health care changes - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Mother advocates for mental health care changes

Mary Barksdale (Source: WAFF) Mary Barksdale (Source: WAFF)

A mother who’s experienced the hardships of children with mental illness is advocating for a new U.S. House bill that would help other families.

Mary Barksdale's son, Farron, suffered from mental issues throughout his life and was committed several times in his 20s. He later died in prison after killing two police officers.

Barksdale now advocates for mentally ill patients and their families, saying too many of these people are not getting the help they need. She hopes the newly passed House Bill 2646 will get through the Senate this year.

“It's been about 50 years since anything positive was done, until this year,” Barksdale said.

The bill is intended to offer liability protection to mental health care professionals and allow pediatric mental health subspecialists to be eligible for National Health Service Corps programs.

She said the bill would expand mental health services through Medicaid and social security without increasing Medicare spending. It would also eliminate the lifetime limit on inpatient hospital services through Medicare.

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