Longview & Gregg County, TX Leaders Act with Mental Health Summit
What’s described by many as a mental health crisis nationally has led some East Texas leaders to take action.
More people in the U.S. are seeking mental health care than ever before.
by the latest federal estimates, about one in eight U.S. adults now takes an antidepressant and one in five has recently received some kind of mental-health care, an increase of almost 15 million people in treatment since 2002. And according to a recent study in JAMA Health Forum, from 2019 to 2022—use of mental-health services jumped by almost 40% among millions of U.S. adults with commercial insurance. What’s described by many as a mental health crisis nationally has prompted some East Texas leaders to take action.
The first Longview/Gregg County, Texas Mental Health Summit took place on Tuesday, February 6, hosted by the Greater Longview Optimal Wellness Initiative and Rotary District No. 5830. It brought together dozens of people to brainstorm on ideas to improve the crisis here at home. Among the group, consisting of dozens of civic leaders and health care professionals, they came up with some initial conclusions: improving mental health services must involve increased funding, public awareness, and better collaboration.
The Longview Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services Section Chief, Captain Amy Hooten, says often exacerbating the crisis is what she` calls non-medical drivers of health. “Lack of transportation abilities. So that hinders them from getting their medications or getting to the doctor appointments that they need to get to; help, you know, remain stable and healthy. Maybe they have food insecurities or housing issues that they’re trying to work through. When you can’t maintain your health, whether it be physical, mental, whatever that looks like for an individual, it’s hard to go to work and it’s hard to be a prosperous person in society."
Captain Hooten says this is just the first step in bringing people together to improve the conditions for mental health care.