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Arizona reeling under mental health crisis
Posted in Mental Health - 0 Comments

The United States is in the midst of a mental health crisis. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2015, there were more than 43 million people aged 18 years or older in the country with “any mental illness” (AMI) within the previous year. While several states have taken numerous steps to address the issue, some still lag behind in terms of mental health care offered and availability of specialists to deal with such patients. One such state is Arizona.

According to the Mental Health America (MHA) 2015 report, owing to the high prevalence of mental illness and low access to mental health care, Arizona ranked last among the U.S. states. The reasons cited for the state’s low ranking included high toxic chemical release, high poverty and low high school graduation rates.

In fact, Arizona’s mental health issues stem from a lack of resources, which might be linked to its failure to provide adequate treatment. Like many other states, Arizona failed to meet the minimum standard in 2016. According to a survey by the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC), the state witnessed a loss of 42 psychiatric beds with only 302 beds in 2016 as compared to 260 beds in 2010. While there is a minimum requirement of 50 beds per 100,000 people, the state recorded only 4.4 beds.

Another problem faced by the state is a shortage of mental health specialists. As per the MHA report, as compared to the adult population, adolescents in Arizona were more mentally ill and underserved. In terms of mental health care for adults, the state ranked 32nd while it ranked 47th for young people. The agency also reported that as compared to adults in the state, access to mental health care for the youth was significantly worse.

Studies show that a higher access to mental health care can see a reduction in poverty, homelessness, unemployment, and crime rates. As per the TAC, like every other state, Arizona incarcerated more individuals with severe mental illness than it hospitalized and that the likelihood of incarceration vs. hospitalization was 9.3 to 1.

What can be done?

As the number of patients served is greater than the current resources available, the biggest issue the Arizona faces is the lack of mental health care professionals. As per recommendations of the TAC, the state needs to add more public psychiatric beds, use state’s civil commitment laws to provide faster care for the mentally ill and increase the number of mental health care professionals.

“To provide effective, best practice and evidence-based interventions requires a deep commitment to the unique needs of this population,” said Douglas Albrecht, clinical director of the Good Fit Counseling Center at Southwest Human Development.

Whatever be the form of mental illness, it not only affects a person but also his or her friends and family members. While mental health treatment is offered at both an inpatient and an outpatient treatment center, it is often recommended to get treatment at residential mental health facilities that provide treatment in a trigger-free environment and helps prevent relapse.

Road to recovery

Various surveys show that as compared to men, women aged 18 years or above are more likely to have a mental illness. While there are many responsibilities and pressures that often accompany women in our culture, stress, genetics and environmental factors also contribute to the rising mental health issues among women.

At Sovereign Health of Arizona, women suffering from mental health conditions can receive comprehensive and individualized behavioral health treatment in a safe and supportive environment. A leading behavioral health care provider, Sovereign Health offers treatment for substance abuse, co-occurring disorders and trauma-related disorders.

For more information on mental health disorder treatments at Sovereign Health, give a call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-598-5661. You can also chat online with our counselors to know more about the mental health treatment programs offered at our finest mental health treatment facilities.


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