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Clinic looks to make dent in treating mental health issues

Reported by: Denise Rosch
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Updated: 12/18/2012 8:25 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Many in the mental health profession here in Nevada say not enough is being done to help people in need. A new clinic at UNLV is trying to make a difference.

The images have been impossible to avoid -- the tragic story of a school shooting and the families still searching for answers.

But while the small town of Newtown, Conn., may seem a world away, Dr. Michelle Carro – director of The Practice, a community mental health clinic now open on the UNLV campus -- says it's normal for people in Nevada to struggle with overwhelming sadness for the victims.

“And I think especially because it is the holidays and you juxtapose what the holidays are supposed to be about against the terrible tragedy, you can't reconcile it. And so it becomes painful,” she said.

Anyone needing help with social, emotional or behavioral issues is welcome at the practice. There's even a "play therapy" training center for young clients. All sessions are videotaped.

The cost is on a sliding scale, depending on the patient's income.

The clinic just opened in August, and already more THAN 100 clients have been seen. The need is so great, there's now a waiting list. And Dr. Carro says here in Nevada that's not necessarily surprising.

“Nevada is sorely underserved with respect to mental health care and health needs,” she said. “In 2009 to 2012, we had over $50 million in cuts to mental health services. A 28 percent decrease.”

When it comes to a traumatic event, Dr. Carro says survivors often experience stress for weeks.

“Children will be more likely to want to stick by their parents,” she said. “There may be some difficulty falling asleep at night.”

These are normal reactions, she says, to an abnormal situation. The key for many people is knowing when to ask for help.
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