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Mental Health Council meets for first time to address problems

Reported by: Kelsey Thomas
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Updated: 1/30/2014 6:04 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- State officials are looking for solutions to fix Nevada's mental health system, which has faced serious criticism the last few months.

Today, a council created by Governor Brian Sandoval held its first meeting.

The council includes members of law enforcement, judges, legislators, mental health, and budget experts will assess Nevada’s mental health system and recommend improvements.

One major concern is the growing problem at local emergency rooms.

Health officials say there are longer wait times because mentally ill patients are taking up beds, and that's just one issue facing the new council.

State leaders say there aren't enough facilities to deal with psychiatric emergencies, so mentally ill patients are crowding jails and emergency rooms.

This new council is meeting to identify the system's biggest challenges.

The panel was created after a series of negative news stories about the treatment of patients at the Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas.

When someone is suffering from a mental health issue, law enforcement is usually the first to intervene.

A person causing a disturbance will typically be sent to jail or a hospital emergency room. In October, about 120 people a day were waiting in local ERs for a free bed at Rawson-Neal psychiatric hospital.

Mike Wilden, the director of the Nevada department of health and human services, says that number has doubled over the last two years.



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