Nevada Ranks Poorly for Provision of Mental Health Services
Nevada ranks "among the worst in the nation" for mental health program funding, the Nevada Appeal reports in the first of a series of articles examining the state's mental health services. In 1999, Nevada ranked 20th nationally in mental health expenditures for community-based programs, 47th in mental health expenditures at state mental health hospitals and 5th in expenditures for psychotropic medications, according to the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors. Carlos Brandenburg, administrator for the state Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services, said that the state mental health system "is recovering from 1991 budget cuts that crippled the department," adding that "the department garnered an extra $55 million in funding in both legislative sessions since 1995." Nevada has budgeted about $61 million for mental health expenditures in 2001, with half of the money going to Las Vegas and $7.5 million for Rural Clinics Community Outpatient Services. Brian Lahren, executive director of the Washoe Association for Retarded Citizens, said, "It would be fair to summarize (the) statistics by noting that where Nevada appears good, they are used by the state to defend a system that still clearly fails Nevada citizens with mental illness. Where the statistics are bad, state officials argue that somehow Nevada is 'unique' and somehow the offending statistics don't apply." He added, "My responseThis is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.