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NV Governor Creates Panel To Study Mental Health Services

PHOTO: A group appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval is tasked with finding ways to improve Nevada's behavioral health system. Photo courtesy Nevada Department of Conservation and Environmental Resources.
PHOTO: A group appointed by Governor Brian Sandoval is tasked with finding ways to improve Nevada's behavioral health system. Photo courtesy Nevada Department of Conservation and Environmental Resources.
December 19, 2013

CARSON CITY, Nev. – A group appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval is searching for ways to improve Nevada's behavioral health system.

The Behavioral Health and Wellness Council has members from the mental health services profession, Legislature, law enforcement and other sectors.

Mike Willden, director of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, says the council will make recommendations to the governor about improving and strengthening services.

He says the state is being sued over allegations of improperly releasing patients.

"A couple of jurisdictions have filed lawsuits about whether or not we are properly discharging patients from our hospital systems and making the appropriate contacts to their home communities where they are discharged to," he explains.

Willden adds another lawsuit alleges that the state discharged a patient to California without any resources.

He says the governor's panel will specifically study hospitalization and discharge policies.

Willden points out another focus is improving the level of mental services available within the community.

"Nevada has largely stayed a state-run mental health system and so we want to look at how to evolve from a state-run mental health system to a community-based mental health system," he says.

Willden says the state is already receiving guidance from national experts on mental health policies. He says about $30 million has been added to the Health and Human Services budget, to beef up staffing at Nevada's psychiatric hospitals.


Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV