Mental health services lagged as need for help grows in Carson City and beyond during pandemic | Carson City Nevada News


While there were the usual suspects of a pandemic, including disease transmission, hospitalizations, government shutdowns, there was another symptom of the pandemic that is less talked about: mental health issues. .

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been an increase in the need for mental health services both at home and nationwide, but unfortunately it has proven difficult to meet this increase.

According to a CDC report, there has been a sharp increase in mental health issues related to COVID-19 among adults nationwide, with 40% of American adults reporting having mental health or substance abuse issues.

For young adults, minorities, essential workers and unpaid adult caregivers, these issues were disproportionately worse.

These increased changes were also seen at home.

“In much of the discussion about COVID, the mental health impact it has had on people as a whole is overlooked,” said Erin Hanna-Butros Meyering of Carson Tahoe Health. “The demand for our mental health services, for both adults and children, is increasing rapidly.”

One of the main issues with this increased need is that there are even fewer services than before the pandemic, including the closure of West Hills Hospital in Reno, which provided inpatient care for adults and youth.

Christina Sapien of Carson Tahoe Behavioral Health Services agrees that there has been a surge in community need for services.

“We have certainly noticed an increase in the number of people seeking mental health treatment in our community, particularly over the past two years, as the COVID pandemic has resulted in increased behavioral health needs for many,” said said Sapiens. “We have seen an increase in the prevalence of depression, anxiety, suicide and substance abuse, and levels of care to support those in need can range from outpatient services to hospitalization as needed. .”

While inpatient services are difficult to find, outpatient services prove almost as difficult.

“People of all ages are most often put on waiting lists for outpatient mental health services due to the lack of community resources to meet growing needs,” Sapien said. “There has also been a noticeable increase in mental health-related emergency room visits.”

There is currently only one psychiatric hospital in the entire region that accepts teenagers, according to Sapien.

“We have seen many children come into Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center in a mental health crisis who need to be held in the emergency room or the pediatric unit while waiting for a bed to become available in an inpatient psychiatric facility,” Sapiens said.

Right now the community needs more mental health services. The Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center is a great tool for the community, but is often full due to the need for services.

“The community would benefit from an increase in mental health services,” Sapien said. “It has been difficult to connect people to needed services in a timely manner due to long waiting lists and limited availability of inpatient and outpatient services for adults and youth in the region. The need of the community has undoubtedly exceeded the availability of services.

Service extensions are currently underway for the community. In December, a 50-bed inpatient facility was announced by the Carson City Community Counseling Center, which is expected to open this spring in Carson City.

Additionally, Sapien says the state has received funding and is currently disbursing those funds to local providers who responded to the funding opportunity notice, including the Community Mental Health Block Grant funds and from the Community Drug Prevention and Treatment Agency, which include additional COVID-19 funds. and the American Rescue Plan Act.

For those in trouble, Sapien says there’s no shame in asking for help.

“Asking for help is difficult, but it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Sapien said. “Mallory Behavioral Health Crisis Center is a resource available in our community and is open 24/7. There, a person in mental health or addiction crisis can receive support and be connected to treatment options to meet his needs.

For those without insurance, Sapien said, there are community resources that offer self-pay options and sliding scale fees. Medicaid may be an option for some, depending on their income.

There are additional resources for those in need of services, which can be found here:

  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
  • NAMI Western Nevada Warm Line: 775-241-4212
  • Crisis text line: Text HOME to 741741
  • Nevada Crisis Support Services (CSSNV): Call 1-800-273-8255
  • Mobile Outreach Security Team (MOST): Call 775-887-COPS (2677)

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