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El Paso joins Texas in lack of mental health care, especially for children

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Dr. Felix Carrion, a psychologist in El Paso, is worried about the future of mental health in the community. He's particularly concerned about what he calls a shortage of psychologists.

"The demand has increased, but the supply has not."

"My concern is for the people who will see diminished mental health resources in this community, and the most fragile people, the most vulnerable people [are] children," says Dr. Carrion. He says he's worried about veterans as well.

According to data from Mental Health America, Texas ranks dead last out of the 50 U.S. states regarding access to children's mental health services. The state ranks 33rd when it comes to adult care access.

Additional data from the Health Resources & Services shows that 248 of the 254 Texas counties are designated by the federal government as having whole or partial mental health professional shortages. El Paso County is one of the counties designated as having whole shortage.

"There's shortages of licensed psychologists everywhere, not just in El Paso, however, we are having a dire shortage here and in the outskirts of El Paso County, so it's a big problem," says Isidro Torres, the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) El Paso.

He believes investing in mental health education in the Borderland and the state of Texas is a solution to the shortage.

"In the post-pandemic, we need those services now more than ever," saidTorres.

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Jason McNabb

Reporter/Multimedia Journalist & GMEP Weekends co-anchor


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