An independent audit of Salt Lake County’s Behavioral Health Services system was released Tuesday. Officials say it validates the county’s move to a managed-care model. County Mayor Ben McAdams called for the audit last year following news that provider Valley Behavioral Health (VBH) would discontinue service to hundreds of patients due to budget cuts.
Hundreds of people are expected at the Utah State Capitol Thursday afternoon to rally for those with substance abuse and mental health disorders. Advocates will be calling attention to a shortage in public funding for treatment, and they’ll be asking lawmakers to expand Medicaid.
The Salt Lake County Council has unanimously approved an audit of its mental health care system. The decision comes after Valley Mental Health announced it would no longer serve hundreds of patients due to a reduction in funding.
Salt Lake County Council Chairman Steve Debry says he and other council members learned that Valley Mental Health would be shrinking its patient rolls by reading the newspaper.
“We were caught off guard and by surprise. To put it mildly, we’re upset with it,” Debry says.
Mental illness is often difficult for people to talk about, but especially hard if you don’t speak the same language as your health provider. Community groups are coming together in Salt Lake City’s Rose Park neighborhood Tuesday to raise awareness about minority mental health.
Mary Burchett is the Outreach Specialist for the National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI in Utah, an organization that provides free education, support and advocacy. She says minorities in Utah have particular challenges.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salt Lake City cut the ribbon Friday on its new Mental Health Outpatient Building. As troops return from Iraq and Afghanistan, VA officials say the number of combat troops seeking help is growing.
Steve Young is the Director of Mental Health Services for the VA in Salt Lake City. He says the building they’ve been operating in for 20 years is basically a bunch of old trailers without wheels.