• December 22, 2014

Coryell County seeks to better mental health care in area

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Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2014 4:30 am

GATESVILLE — Coryell County commissioners on Monday adopted two resolutions seeking state help to provide more and better mental health care to Central Texans — including military veterans — who may end up in jail because of a lack of treatment facilities.

One resolution asks the Texas Health and Human Services Department to increase the capacity of mental health care services in the six-county Regional Healthcare Partnership Area No. 16.

The region, which includes Coryell County, had an average suicide rate of 17 per 100,000 people in 2010, 42 percent higher than the Texas average, according to the resolution.

“We are lobbying to get funds earmarked for priority areas,” County Judge John Firth said.

The request is part of the Medicaid 1115 Waiver grant under which the county has already opened an eight-bed mental health crisis center in a renovated wing of the MHMR building in Gatesville.

A second phase of the grant would provide operational funds for a new crisis respite center in Copperas Cove.

Central Counties Services, the agency that administers the grant, is negotiating with the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation for land to build the center in or near the Narrows Business and Industrial Park.

The resolution cites “shovel-ready projects” for the operational funds.

The second resolution “strongly urges” the state to fund “results-oriented, evidence-based, proven treatment including Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy” for returning veterans who suffer from the “signature wounds” of Iraq and Afghanistan — traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Linger effects of these injuries adversely impact veterans’ lives, resulting frequently in destroyed families, drug and alcohol use, unemployment, mental illness, incarceration and homelessness,” the resolution stated.

Communities need state help, the resolution stated, because neither Veterans Affairs, military medicine nor Medicare will reimburse medical practitioners for their efforts to help these veterans.

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