The Select Committee on Mental Health brought together healthcare providers, criminal justice experts, insurance companies, and county officials to discuss the problem. Access is sparse—185 of 254 Texas counties lack a general psychiatrist—and solutions will likely vary based on each community. Rural areas have a particularly difficult time staffing mental health providers, and while the state has begun providing incentives for young practitioners to establish there, many say it’s not enough.
Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo, is leading the committee. KXAN says he’s focused on discovering a “holistic approach regarding mental health treatment” and will spend the months running up to the session next year discussing the possibilities with all stakeholders.
With 4.1 psychiatrists per 1,000 patients, Texas is the fourth worst in the country. Only Nevada, Mississippi, and Idaho have fewer. It is worth noting that 63 of the 185 counties do not have a population of more than 6,800 people, which is the recommended baseline for supporting a general psychiatrist.