Mental health issues often linked to addiction
LAS VEGAS – As recent events have proved, the country is severely underserved when it comes to mental health care options, and Southern Nevada is no different.
Last year’s local news headlines were filled with stories about patient dumping – when mentally ill patients from Nevada were bused and dumped at hospitals in California because Nevada did not have the resources to handle these patients. Since then, the state has adopted better practices and changed policy to not allow people to travel unescorted. As a result, there are more people staying in Nevada.
In the Fall 2013 newsletter published by the Treatment Advocacy Center, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness, the organization said this:
“Nevada currently jails nearly 10 times as many individuals with severe mental illness as it hospitalizes and offers only 11.2 public psychiatric beds per 100,000 population; 50 beds per 100,000 are considered minimally adequate to meet inpatient needs.”
With the closing of the Rawson Neal Urgent Care, things have reached worrisome levels. The clinic was originally opened to help relieve the stress on emergency rooms caused by non-emergency patients seeking mental health services. Despite the closing of the clinic, there are still options available to patients through services offered by Community Counseling, Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services and Solutions Recovery.
“We think it’s important to recognize that Nevada is taking steps to address its mental health problems, and we hope our state will do more in the future,” said Dave Marlon, president of Solutions Recovery. “The costs of criminal justice, medical care, crisis stabilization and of just not treating these people are so much more than the cost of addressing their real, appropriate needs.”
Established in 2005, Solutions Recovery addresses mental health issues as well as addiction.
“Most of the time when people come to Solutions Recovery with an addiction problem, it is not the only issue,” Marlon said. “More often than not, they have mental health issues, and the addiction is just a coping mechanism or comes from self medicating.”
To provide a multi-faceted approach to addressing these issues, Solutions Recovery addresses the following afflictions:
· Alcohol addiction
· Drug addiction
· Prescription drug addiction
· Chronic pain
· Mental Disorder:
Since 2009, Community Counseling, Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services and Solutions Recovery formed a contract to provide counseling, medication management and clean and sober supportive housing for seriously mentally ill, drug-dependant clients.
“When we started this program, most people did not have hope for our clients,” Marlon said. “Throughout the past nine years, however, these clients have greatly exceeded our own expectations and surprised everyone, even themselves.”
He added: “Many of the clients came in unemployable, with legal and medical issues and hopelessly addicted. Most of them graduate from the program, clean and sober, stable on their psychotropic medications, and often to healthy living arrangements where they are able to obtain jobs within the community.”
Solutions Recovery has grown the program slowly each year and now houses up to 40 clients.
“However, with 8,000 clients in the SNAMHS system, we are hoping to grow this successful program substantially and help more Nevadans become successful and functioning members of our community,” Marlon said. “We have proven that when a client is provided appropriate non-narcotic psychiatric medications and given the opportunity to achieve prolonged abstinence from illegal substances, he or she is then positioned to do better than ever imagined. We couple this with life skills, ensure their medical/dental needs are met, and we introduce them to support groups; all while giving them love and demonstrating how sincerely we care about them.”
For more information on Solutions Recovery, visit solutions-recovery.com/ or call 702-228-8520 at any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.