Published: Dec 19, 2012 11:53 PM EST
Updated: Dec 20, 2012 10:13 AM EST

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- President Barack Obama called for easier access to mental health services today, so WINK News looked into what needs to happen to make treatment more accessible for those who need help in our area.

"It's difficult and is a real challenge," said Stacey Cook-Hawk with Lee Mental Health Services.

Cook-Hawk says it can be tough to admit an unwilling mental health patient, but if they verbalize suicidal or homicidal thoughts they could be Baker-Acted and it then turns into a legal matter.

"We would then call law enforcement to assist in transporting that individual to our crisis unit," Cook-Hawk said.

But Cook-Hawk also says if you are a parent wanting to admit your child who is willing the process is much easier.

"We are going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to getting a gun," said President Barack Obama.

At Lee Mental Health Services, they say to help more people and make access easier, they need more money.
In 2011 the state gave the facility nearly 7.6 million dollars and Lee County kicked in 3.2 million dollars. 
While that may seem like a lot, the funding has stayed the same over the past ten years even though they see more patients year to year.

"There is a lot of exposure to violence especially for young people," said Pauline Wieand with the Children's Advocacy Center.

Wieand says there is still a stigma of being admitted for help and talking with people who may need help.
"Some people don't want to get involved they don't want to to be intrusive," said Wieand.

"We have to get bye the fear of confronting something that looks different and needs to be addressed that may be uncomfortable," said Cook-Hawk.