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Mental health panel releases improvement proposals

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Updated: 5/16 7:05 pm

LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Governor Brian Sandoval’s council looking into the state’s critical mental health needs has issued a 33-page draft report.

Sandoval formed the council after allegations of patient dumping were raised against the state’s Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas.

Among its recommendations:

  • Create a special, high-intensity, low-caseload program that targets the heaviest users of the most expensive forms of mental-health care.

  • Increase the availability of short-term crisis triage services.

  • Allow emergency medical personnel to make triage decisions about mental health crises, and no longer require them to transport people to hospital emergency rooms.

  • Increase the number of psychiatric, in-patients beds in Southern Nevada.

  • Provide appropriate mental health professionals to public schools.

  • Expand mobile crisis services for children.

  • Conduct a public information campaign that will aid with suicide prevention, while reducing the stigma associated with receiving mental health care.

Sandoval has said, “Nevada needs thoughtful, effective and efficient solutions from people who serve Nevadans’ with behavioral health issues on the front line each and every day.”

The panel of volunteers included mental health professionals, legislators, law enforcement officials and state and county behavioral health administrators.

Sandoval promised to use the panel’s recommendations to craft new mental-health policies for the state. Some recommendations may require authorization and funding from the Nevada Legislature that meets in 2015.

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