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Nevada's First Lady Taking On Mental Health Issues In Las Vegas

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AP Photo/Lance Iversen, File
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In this Jan. 5, 2015, file photo, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, left, looks on as his wife Kathleen Sandoval talks with the couple's youngest daughter Marisa, 10, as Maddy, 18, watches entertainers during Sandoval's inauguration ceremony in Carson City, Nev.

The governor isn’t the only Sandoval making news this week.

Kathleen Sandoval, the governor’s wife, is visiting Las Vegas to christen the opening of Enliven.

Enliven is a place to treat people between the ages of 15 and 25 who are diagnosed as psychotic. While it might seem unusual that someone so young can have a psychotic break, Sandoval said not only does it happen, but people aren't be diagnosed properly. 

“What we have found is that it is not being picked up quick enough and so people have had several breaks before they actually get treatment, and it makes it more difficult for them to get treatment and be able to thrive with treatment,” she said.

Sandoval, director of operations for the non-profit The Children's Cabinet, opened the first Enliven in Reno a year ago, in partnership with the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.

“With the intensive services, we have seen a lot of success,” she said.

Of 87 people screened in Reno, Sandoval said, 24 were found to be dealing with psychosis, which can include a variety of symptoms. The young people who were determined to be right for the program were given treatment ranging from pharmaceuticals to counseling, and their families and friends were also educated on the mental illness.

“It is very important that they get a variety of different treatments in a coordinated manner,” she said.

Those who weren't determined to have had a break were referred to other places to still get the help they needed. 

Las Vegas is eight times larger than Reno, so Sandoval said the staff in the south will be much larger to start with.

Nevada has long struggled to address the needs of people with mental illnesses, Sandoval said it isn't just a state-funding issue; it's a community issue.

“We need to continue to collaborate from the counties to the state to nonprofit organizations to the school district to the juvenile services," she said, "And it is really all of our obligation and responsibility to do that.”

Enliven is located at 6161 W. Charleston Boulevard.

Kathleen Sandoval, The Children's Cabinet

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.