POSTED: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 9:41am
UPDATED: Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 10:39am
Kilgore, TX — County judges and their representatives began a long-term effort Wednesday toward improving a 14-county regional approach to helping people with mental illness.
“This is going to be grass roots-up rather than Washington-down,” East Texas Council of Governments Director David Cleveland told about 30 members of the East Texas Mental Health Team.
The panel was formed out of an April roundtable at which participants, largely county judges in ETCOG’s 14-county service area, learned each county had its own protocols in dealing with mentally ill people.
“There’s 14 different counties and 14 different ways of doing things,” Cleveland said Wednesday at the meeting at the Comfort Suites Hotel in Kilgore. “That not only wastes time, it also wastes a lot of money. If we can come up with a process, a common intake system, that will eliminate a lot of (waste and duplication).”
Northeast Texans with mental illness seek treatment at a handful of major providers, such as Longview-based Community HealthCore or, to the south and west, the Andrews Center network. The criminal justice system also sends people to state facilities for observation and, in some cases, long-term treatment.
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