for ways to improve Nevada’s behavioral health system.
The Behavioral Health and Wellness Council has members from the mental
health services profession, Legislature, law enforcement and other
Mike Willden, director of the Nevada Department of Health and Human
Services, says the council will make recommendations to the governor
about improving and strengthening services.
He says the state is being sued over allegations of improperly
“A couple of jurisdictions have filed lawsuits about whether or not we
are properly discharging patients from our hospital systems and making
the appropriate contacts to their home communities where they are
discharged to,” he explains.
Willden adds another lawsuit alleges that the state discharged a
patient to California without any resources.
He says the governor’s panel will specifically study hospitalization
and discharge policies.
Willden points out another focus is improving the level of mental
services available within the community.
“Nevada has largely stayed a state-run mental health system and so we
want to look at how to evolve from a state-run mental health system to
a community-based mental health system,” he says.
Willden says the state is already receiving guidance from national
experts on mental health policies. He says about $30 million has been
added to the Health and Human Services budget, to beef up staffing at
Nevada’s psychiatric hospitals.