The state wants regional input on behavioral health

The state of Nevada wants to do a better job of addressing mental health issues. Rather than determining solutions from the top down, the last Nevada Legislature provided a way for communities and counties to share their concerns and ideas and then propose solutions.

The Legislature recognized that solutions developed in and for Las Vegas and Clark County are not likely to work in Lovelock, Winnemucca and Battle Mountain. So when Assembly Bill 366 passed, it created four regional policy boards.

Each regional board will have authorization to request one bill draft in the next Nevada Legislative session to make positive changes to the way mental health issues are handled in each specific area of the state. The four behavioral health regions are: Northern, Washoe, Rural and Southern.

The Northern region includes Carson City and Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Mineral and Storey counties.

The Rural region includes Elko, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lincoln, Pershing and White Pine counties. The Washoe region is specific to Washoe County and the Southern region consists of Clark, Esmeralda and Nye Counties. Each regional policy board will consist of 13 members.

Each regional behavioral health policy board will be comprised of a representative from:

• the criminal justice system,

• hospitals or residential treatment centers

• individuals with experience in delivering behavioral health social services

• community-based organizations which provide behavioral health services

• treatment providers for alcohol or drug abuse

• owners or administrators of residential treatment facilities, transitional housing or other housing for persons who are mentally ill or suffering from addiction or substance abuse

• county health officer

• a psychiatrist or psychologist

• a private or public insurance provider covering behavior health services

• a law enforcement representative with experience with and knowledge of the need for behavioral health services

• a legislator

• an individual or family member of someone who has received behavioral health services

• emergency medical services or fire services who has experience providing emergency services to behavioral health patients

The representatives on the policy boards will be sharing ideas for effective intervention with people suffering a mental health crisis. They will discuss how to develop policy and train area first responders and community agencies and organizations to work cohesively toward positive change.

Those appointed will serve a two-year term without compensation and may be reappointed. Each policy board will be tasked with advising the state regarding the behavioral health needs of adults and children in the behavioral health region, as well as progress, problems or proposed plans relating to providing behavioral health services and methods to improve.

The policy boards will be asked to:

(1) Identify gaps in the mental health services available in their region and make recommendations for service enhancements to address those gaps.

(2) Propose priorities for allocating money to support and develop behavioral health services in their region.

(3) Promote improvements in the delivery of behavioral health services in the behavioral health region.

(4) Coordinate and exchange information with the other

policy boards.

(5) Review the collection and reporting standards of behavioral health data to determine standards for data collection and reporting processes.

(6) In coordination with existing entities in the state that address issues relating to behavioral health services, submit a report at least annually, or more often if there is a need.