HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — A new study, conducted by the non-profit Texas Care for Children is raising awareness of the current gaps in children’s mental health.

The study came right after the state legislature’s response to the Uvalde mass shooting where 19 students and two adults were killed.

Josette Saxton, Director of Mental Health Policy at Texans Care for Children said the study shows Texas legislatures are only providing districts with $9.72 per student.

That amount is meant to pay for school security measures and mental health services but Saxton said funding is needed solely for mental health services. 

“More than 2,600 families last year were waiting on inquiry lists to see if they could access some intensive services through the yes waiver program that is available across the state so we have services that are out there, but not all families can access them,” said Saxton.

The study also reports a 35 percent increase in high school students attempting suicide.

According to Psychiatrist Robert Mosqueda, one in four children are likely to struggle with mental health issues before the age of 18.

With the demand for mental health services, Mosqueda said parents need to pay close attention to warning signs and take them seriously. 

“One of the biggest problems with mental illness in children is their inability to perform, to concentrate, to focus and that can be specifically ADHD, it can be depression, it can be anxiety, and that whole gamut of diagnoses can really affect the child’s performance,” said Mosqueda. 

Mosqueda said communication and seeking professional help can aid in mental health.

According to Mental Health America, Texas ranks as one of the worst states when it comes to child mental health services.

The Texas Department of State and Health Protective Services predicts south Texas will need 50 more psychiatrists in the next 10 years but right now it is currently on track to add 10.

Last week, the legislature announced it is transferring $100 million to state agencies and programs in response to the Uvalde shooting 

For mental health support in Texas, call 888-690-0799. You can also reach a trained crisis counselor through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 800-273-8255 or texting 741741.

The Texas Health and Human Services will also be hosting a virtual meeting on mental health on Wednesday, July 13. If you are interested in participating click here for more information.