By Taylor Pettaway
Carson City is building mental health resources but there still is a lot of work to ensure patients don’t fall through the cracks.
One difficulty is transitioning patients through the system, and making sure there is a continuity of care so they don’t veer off the treatment path and back into crisis.
“We lose a lot of people in the gap between services or different levels of care,” said Carson Tahoe Regional Behavioral Health Coordinator Jessica Flood. “We are all trying to come together to start working together to stabilize these individuals that kind of need wrap around support to really get stable in our communities.”
One of the biggest gaps is the lack of affordable transitional housing for those in residential or outpatient treatment. These housing programs help provide a stable, sober and safe environment while people are working out of crisis.
“The biggest gap that I see is that we don’t have a residential treatment facility for co-occurring persons with mental illness — so that’s a person who has a substance abuse issue along with mental illness,” said Carson City Forensic Manager Bekah Bock. “So what happens is, we are sending people outside of their community to get that treatment and we should be able to treat our people in our own communities.”
Once inpatient treatment is complete, patients may be forced to return to housing situations, even homelessness, that adds stress and reintroduces destructive environments.
“When individuals go through residential treatment they can come out with higher motivation to be stable and sober but return to homelessness and to poor living environments that often set them up for failure,” Flood said.
Community resources also are working on eliminating common difficulties associated with mental health care. Often, individuals will fall off of treatment plans, not because they want to, but because certain aspects of care can be difficult to obtain.
“We develop plans with individuals that can be helpful, but often don’t take into account the barrier that can keep an individual from succeeding, such as transportation or finances,” Flood said. “We are working to develop strategies to support the individual and ensure they get connected to the services.”
Without easy access to transportation, patients are more likely to miss appointments and other treatment needs, Flood said.