Cuts and Scars

shutterstock54656056.jpgIndigent Southern Nevadans who suffer from mental illnesses are losing another place to get help. The local Salvation Army is sharply reducing its adult mental-health services because of a multimillion-dollar gap in funding.

At the same time, the Nevada Division of Mental Health & Development Services blames the logjam of mental-health patients awaiting services for overcrowding in the state’s emergency rooms. Case workers from Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services (SNAMHS) have been working to find programs for the 55 people displaced by the closures at the Salvation Army, says Chelsea Szklany, a hospital administrator for the agency. At press time, all but about a few of them had been placed.

That doesn’t address the more vexing problem for SNAMHS: The service is licensed to operate 289 adult beds for adults, but its budget allows staff for only 190. These are perennially occupied; the remaining beds, though needed, sit unused.

Meanwhile, people line up in ERs for psychiatric evaluations and medication that cost taxpayers a lot more than preventive care.

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