By Ken Dixon
HARTFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday said gun-control legislation next year must include provisions to improve mental health diagnosis and treatment to help avoid future violence.
“I think it’s important that this be taken up soon and be acted on in an appropriate and reasoned way,” Malloy said. “We’re going to work with folks, have some conversations. I think we’re going to get things done, and I want to get them done in an as cooperative way as possible.”
He said that “demystifying and destigmatizing” mental health treatment is a key. “If we do anything in this arena, that has to be part of it as well,” he said.
Malloy said he is proud of the state’s commitment to mental health, with lawmakers during their special budget session last week including cost-of-living increases for private, nonprofit community providers. He said 84,000 state residents have benefits that they wouldn’t have elsewhere.
In the wake of the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, he said, his commissioners provided extensive services outside of their usual “silos.”
The governor said similar tactics will have to be undertaken in the future to address the needs of families with members who have mental health problems and a potential for violence.
“We need to work with these folks,” Malloy said. “We need to have more open discussions on how we help the families. I think access to treatment begins with a broader knowledge of what treatment is, and I think that’s where as a society and a state we could play a leading role.”
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