AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) -As the increase in patients seeking mental health continues, the Texas Panhandle is seeing a shortage in mental health providers.
Texas A & M Agrilife Extension just released new data showing that the High Plains is extremely under-served for mental health providers compared to the rest of Texas.
The recent data shows that across the state there is an average of one mental health provider to 957 individuals, but in the Texas Panhandle there is one mental health provider to 4,400 individuals, which makes it hard for those with behavioral issues to get the help they need.
Like the rest of the United States, the Panhandle is seeing an increase in patients seeking mental health treatment, but they can’t find enough doctors, nurses, and therapists to treat them.
“There’s not a lot of graduates coming out of school that stay in this area that can help us with our needs. So, we are looking at ways, instead of competing for those people in those positions, how do we introduce them to all the opportunities they have in the Panhandle,” said Texas Panhandle Centers Behavioral and Development Chief Clinical Officer Libby Moore.
In an effort to recruit and retain more staff, the Texas Panhandle Centers Behavioral & Developmental Health is working with many organizations to try and figure out ways to attract mental health providers to the area.
According to Moore, it is a big problem here in the Panhandle and bringing awareness can help.
While the shortage is pronounced, there are other resources for those that can’t find help like the Amarillo Area Mental Health Consumers.
“We’re a peer support service center, so anybody can come to Amarillo Area Mental Health Consumers as long as they have a legitimate diagnosis. They can come and we will try and help them,” said Amarillo Area Mental Health Consumers Executive Director.
As attitudes towards mental health treatment change, Foster believes the people in the Panhandle will have to come up with more solutions to help those in need.