One in four adults have a diagnosable mental disorder according to the National Institutes for Mental Health, which is almost 60 million Americans. For the first time, Bexar County created a mental health department, which has a $300,000 budget. The department intends to plug the holes and coordinate the resources here in Bexar County.
We talk with their first director, Gilbert Gonzales, about what is coming for the county and what they feel they can do with this first step.
Fronteras: New Mexico accused 15 of it's mental health providers of Medicaid fraud, froze all federal funds to the agencies, and handed management of the companies over to Arizona firms. Some say the transition isn't going so well. We remember an activist who spoke up for the people who find themselves stranded and destitute in Tijuana after being deported from the U.S. Catholic leaders are hoping a nationwide immigration mass will sway Congress on immigration reform. Also, the Navajo Nation is trying to balance resources with feral horse roundups.
Soldiers approach armored vehicles after a training exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas, in January.
Credit Juan Carlos Llorca / AP
Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, the commanding officer at Fort Bliss until last month, spearheaded efforts to break the taboo on seeking help for mental issues. Pittard, shown here at Fort Bliss in 2012, also implemented mandatory interactive suicide prevention training.
On Tuesday Bexar County Commissioners celebrated the 5-year anniversary of the Mental Health Court.
In 2008, the program began diverting non-violent, mentally ill offenders from jail, and instead entered them into a structured treatment program and case management to stop the cycle of arrest-release-arrest that many offenders get caught in.
Judge Michael Mery, who founded the court, said people who are now recovering from drug abuse or mental illness often tell him how the court changed their lives: