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Youth Mental Health Summit Addresses Access To Treatment


Illustration Works/Corbis

Nevada ranks poorly when it comes to mental health.

Mental Health America ranked the state last in its October 2016 report, and said 71.6 percent of teens with depression in the state did not receive treatment. 

But part of improving these statistics is understanding what's needed. 

That's the goal behind the Youth & Family Mental Health Engagement Summit, January 28 in Las Vegas and Reno.

The organizers of the summit want to hear from youth, ages 12-26, and their families about how to improve services for what is known as 'co-occurring' issues of substance abuse and mental health.  

Stephanie Tau is the youth treatment and recovery coordinator for the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health. She said many families don't know what resources are available in the state and how to access them. 

“What are the barriers?" she said. "What are the access issues that they’re facing?”

She said people in the system want to know what the gaps are and what they can do fix them. 

One of the gaps for young people dealing with mental health issues and substance abuse at the same time is the lack of providers who treat both.

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“We’re talking about how can we treat the whole person to address both at the same time, because that’s what the need is,” Tau said.

Alex Cherup is the director of transition services for Nevada PEP, which provides support for families that have children with disabilities.

He said there are better outcomes for young people if they and their families are included in discussions about how to set up programs.

“With this summit, we’re putting together that process for those youth and families to participate in that process from early on,” he said.

The information they gather from the summit will be used to craft the right kind of services, programs and access points.  

He said the summit will also give youth and family a chance to "plug in" and know how to advocate for themselves and their children. 

Charlene Frost is one of those parents who "plugged in" and became an advocate for her two children. She is also the statewide family network director for Nevada PEP.

She said access to help is the biggest problem for families. 

“They need a variety of choices that are going to fit the needs of their families,” she said.

Frost said when someone walks through the door to get help it should be the right door, regardless of where they go. She said early treatment and intervention is vital. 

“If we’re not addressing the problems in our state now, then we will be addressing them later,” she said. 







Stephanie Tau, youth treatment and recovery coordinator, Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health; Alex Cherup, director of transition services, Nevada PEP; Charlene Frost, statewide family network director, Nevada PEP

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