CREATED Jan. 29, 2013
APPLETON-- In the midst of the debate over tougher gun control laws, Congressman Reid Ribble is looking for ways to solve gun violence. Rep. Ribble hosted a pair of round table discussions Tuesday, the first focusing on mental health issues, the other on preventing shooting deaths at schools. The 8th district representative says the two go hand in hand.
Congressman Ribble heard from dozens of health care professionals and education experts. He says these sessions are invaluable to helping him make decisions in Washington D.C.
In Appleton, the first of two round tables focused on the state of mental health care where current and retired health care workers sounded off about the system and what is needed to fix it.
Karen Schiller of the National Alliance on Mental Illness says there are about 45,000 people in the Fox Valley Metro Area suffering from some type of mental illness.
"We are very excited that the dialogue is opening we hope that it is a balanced and informed dialogue to help break stigma, said Schiller.
In Green Bay, Congressman Ribble asked for input from about a dozen education experts from area school districts on addressing school violence.
School leaders say police liaison officers are a useful tool. However, hiring a full time officer is not an option in every community.
"This will trigger additional questions that I’ll begin to circle back individually with some of the experts in the room begin to get a better understanding of it, this is really critical to help inform me on my decisions and I hope to continue having more of these types of conversations,” Rep. Ribble said.
Congressman Ribble says funding for both mental health and school safety issues remain a top priority.
Many of the experts who spoke say more state and federal funding is needed to help address many of those issues.