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Healing Utah's mental health crisis

Dr. Howard WeeksThere is a mental health crisis in Utah. In a recent op-ed published in the Deseret News, Howard Weeks, MD, associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry, explains the various initiatives University of Utah Health is leading to help address the problem.

Among the community programs making a difference is the Giving Access to Everyone program, which extends mental health services to children and adults by pairing primary care physicians and psychiatric specialists for consultation electronically. Through this service, we can provide high-quality care to families and children while lowering costs and maintaining most treatment in their home.

Still, there is more to do in Utah. 

Suicide prevention is a complex, multifaceted issue. The dramatic shortage of psychiatrists and other mental health providers throughout the country is one of many severe hurdles to accessing care.

Utah is not removed from this crisis, and our rapidly expanding population suffers from a higher rate of mental illness than the U.S. average. Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates only 311 mental health providers per 100,000 people. In Utah, it’s 209 per 100,000. Nationally and locally, there are not enough inpatient beds and treatment programs for good mental health care.

Read the full op-ed.