Does Nevada Need Mental Health Crisis Centers?

Oct 6, 2016

Some local advocates are calling for the creation of walk-in mental health crisis centers in Nevada. Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick has more.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, hosted a community discussion and fundraiser to present the benefits and challenges of building walk-in crisis centers to aid in mental health and substance use intervention.

Ginger Paulsen is the executive director of NAMI Nevada. She says many people going through a mental health crisis either end up in the emergency room or jail—and she wants to see more support for those individuals.

“We have an extremely broken system, and we have a number of people that are desperate for help,” Paulsen says. “We would like to see walk-in mental health and substance use crisis centers, regionally or in communities, that people can go to or their family members can bring their loved one to, to get triaged and to get help.”

Jessica Flood is the regional coordinator with Carson Tahoe Behavioral Health Services. She says walk-in crisis centers could help health care providers offer a better balance of mental health services.

“Our biggest challenge is really establishing a continuity of care,” Flood says. “Right now we just have people that can go to outpatient mental health services or an inpatient hospital. We have nothing in between.”

According to the non-profit Mental Health America, Nevada ranks dead last in access to critical services.