Las Vegas Mental Health Services Overloaded

LAS VEGAS -- Although at this point no one knows for sure what was behind the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the tragedy has a lot of people asking questions about mental health and the lack of services for many people struggling with mental illnesses.

Nevada ranks close to the bottom when it comes to the number of psychologists and psychiatrists per capita. Plus, the mental health facilities are filled.

The Practice at UNLV is a mental health clinic that opened its doors in August. It is already seeing 120 patients.

According to the facility's director, Dr. Michelle Carro, they have a waiting list of at least 30 days. She says her facility is not the only one in Las Vegas putting people on a waiting list.

Carro says she doesn't want to speculate on what caused the shooting massacre in Connecticut, but does feel more can be done to help kids and adults battle mental health issues.

"I think that we have a disjointed system of healthcare. No one blinks twice when there is something physically wrong, but we do sort of hesitate when there is something mentally, emotionally, socially amiss," Dr. Carro said.

Patients are placed on two or three waiting lists at a time to see doctors and the longer patients wait, the worse their condition becomes, Dr. Carro said. She would like to see more resources placed on preventative care.

For more information about The Practice, go to education.unlv.edu/practice.


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