Mental Health Gaining Support

Democrats and Republicans don’t often find themselves standing side-by-side on issues. But the two parties are finding common ground in the fight to help those with mental health challenges.

Lawmakers recently voted to send a mental health bill to the Senate floor that would build and improve programs to help:

  • Prevent suicide;
  • Children recover from traumatic events:
  • Provide mental health awareness for teachers and others; and
  • Assess barriers to integrating behavioral health and primary care.

This could be incredibly important and beneficial here in Arizona where a recent study ranked us 50th out of 51 states and the District of Columbia for access to mental healthcare. Only Oregon ranked lower. From the Phoenix New Times.

There aren’t enough people trained to provide mental-health services. Arizona has more than 100 mental-health-professional shortage areas, which means the federal government officially has declared there are not enough providers to treat the population. In these areas, there is just one psychiatrist for every 30,000 people.

This means people who are actively suicidal are often forced to wait months before they can get treatment, said Theresa Nguyen, director of policy and programming for Mental Health America.

Arizona Public Media highlighted the shortage of mental health care providers in our state, in a recent video titled “Sheri’s Fight.” Sheri George used a paper produced, in part, by the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) to successfully advocate for the creation of the first comprehensive behavioral health facility in rural San Tan Valley – one of the areas most in-need of behavioral health providers

Click here or on the video below to watch it.

sheri_fight

If you are interested in reading AzHHA’s full report titled, “Waiting For Care,” you can do so by clicking here.

Finding innovative solutions to the mental health challenges that face Arizonans is critically important. Share your thoughts on how we might do this. Democrats and Republicans are proving we don’t have to agree on everything to agree to work together to help those who are battling mental health chalenges. And working together is a key piece to our long term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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