Mental Health Special Tonight

It is one of Arizona’s (and our nation’s) most pressing health issues. Tonight,  KOLD-TV in Tucson will air a live half-hour special titled – Mental Health: Standing Up To The Stigma.

From Tucson News Now:

In addition to mental health topics and individual interviews, Mental Health: Standing up to Stigma will offer viewers the opportunity to have their mental health questions answered by experts during a live phone bank and a Facebook live chat on the Tucson News Now Facebook page.

The show is an important part of KOLD’s effort to inform the public that mental health is not something to be afraid or ashamed of, but rather a challenge that affects all of Southern Arizona.

This special report comes at a time when several mental health related stories have been featured in our local headlines. For example, recent legislation in our state set up a trust fund to help people with  mental health issues find housing.

In a separate story, the Tucson Sentinel reported, “Nearly 500 convicts in Arizona’s prison system attempted suicide in 2015, despite efforts to push for better mental health treatment and a legal settlement ordering the Department of Corrections to improve psychiatric services.”

We have also run several blogs on the mental health challenges our state faces including one that pointed out how 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.

It is an issue we must be willing to talk about if we hope to help those who are struggling to cope with mental illness. Let us know what you think we can do to make Arizona a national leader when it comes to awareness about mental health issues. Doing that will help us take a huge step forward in out goal to one day make Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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