AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - On average, Pampa Regional Medical Center treats four patients a month who have attempted suicide or have suicidal idealizations.
They see more patients during the winter months because the holidays can be tough for some individuals, and there is less sunlight, which can cause seasonal depression.
In the past, they were only taking elderly patients, but now they can help more individuals instead of sending them away for treatment.
“We generally take people in when they are a danger to themselves or others somehow. So they could be suicidal, threatening towards other people, for example. A lot of this is aimed at teaching the patients coping skills to deal with whatever they have problems with,” said Charles Harolds, Director of Psychiatric Services.
“This is a nice safety net to help you get back on your feet. This isn’t the end. This is just a pause,” said Sharon Benton, Music Therapist.
Even though Pampa has other mental health services, the wait times are often long, and patients can do more harm to themselves waiting, than good. So Pampa Regional Medical center saw the need to expand their behavioral health services as they serve many towns within a 100-mile radius.
Some Patients have to go far away to a facility for help, making it hard for family members to be apart of their treatment.
“It does make it easier because they can see the day to day on their progress. They can see if the medication is working or not. Because sometimes, before we can notice a change in ourselves, our family members do, so sometimes that’s helpful to be like, Oh, your happier today, or I can tell like the medicine seems to be working. And so that helps them show that they are here for a reason and that it’s not all a waste of their time,” said Amy Crain, LMSW.
Since the expansion, they have also added therapy dogs to the unit.
“Sometimes, having a pet does wonders because most of us do have a pet, and we are away from them in that time, so it gives them that you know just everything with them,” said Crain.
The unit is open to all kinds of therapy, including music therapy, where patients can bang the drums or scream a song to work through their difficulties.