Milestone reached for improving mental health care in the panhandle

Updated: Feb. 15, 2017 at 4:49 PM CST
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Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Mental health experts called Wednesday a milestone for improving how care is given across the panhandle.

The day started with the official launch of the Panhandle Behavioral Health Alliance, (PBHA) -- a group tasked with creating a network of professionals to improve patient treatment.

After passing its charter unopposed, the group is now focusing on creating a directory that will give current care providers better access to available resources in our area.

"Through this collaboration and though the PBHA we're talking to each other, we're more aware and we're compiling a resource directory," said Margie Netherton, the president of National Alliance on Mental Illness-Texas Panhandle.

Wednesday was fitting for the launch of the PBHA because it coincided with the one year anniversary of the Okay to Say campaign.

Okay to Say is a movement to end the stigma surrounding mental and behavioral health issues.

While statistics show these illnesses have widespread effects, they are not given the appropriate attention.

"One in five Texans are impacted by mental illness, and so I think it is hard to talk about," said Andy Keller the CEO and President of the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. "It is such a big number, so we have to break it down to the smaller conditions."

Mayor Paul Harpole also declared February 15, 2017 as Panhandle Behavioral Health Alliance Day to encourage people to join the Okay to Say campaign or the PBHA.

At the state level, Representative Four Price was named to the House Select Committee on Mental Health.

Professionals in this field said they are excited about the momentum they've generated for solving these issues moving forward.

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