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Nevada Mental Health Services Guide

Many people don't realize that publicly-funded mental health services are available in their state. People looking for free or low-cost counseling often think their only options are counselors in private practice and don't know that publicly-funded providers in their communities may also offer counseling services. 

 

While state-based programs are not for everyone, they're often a great place to start for people who face geographic or financial barriers to therapy. Intake specialists at community mental health programs can help people learn whether they qualify for state-funded services and can refer people who don't qualify to other low-cost programs that may be able to meet their needs.


 

When Should You Go to a State Mental Health Program?

 

Many people don't realize that publicly-funded mental health services are available in their state. People looking for free or low-cost counseling often think their only options are counselors in private practice and don't know that publicly-funded providers in their communities may also offer counseling services. 

 

While state-based programs are not for everyone, they're often a great place to start for people who face geographic or financial barriers to therapy. Intake specialists at community mental health programs can help people learn whether they qualify for state-funded services and can refer people who don't qualify to other low-cost programs that may be able to meet their needs.


Who Is Eligible for Public Mental Health Services in Nevada?

 

Nevada doesn't have formal statewide clinical eligibility criteria for public mental health services. However, funding is limited and the state mental health system in Nevada prioritizes people who have or are eligible for Medicaid, people who have a serious mental illness (SMI), and people with mental health conditions who are involved with the criminal justice system. If you are not in one of these groups, whether you can receive services through the public system will depend on where you are trying to access services and the level of funding they have at the time.

 

To meet SMI criteria, you need to have a diagnosed or diagnosable mental health condition that significantly impacts your functioning and puts you at risk of hospitalization. The conditions that most frequently qualify as SMI include psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and mood disorders like bipolar disorder and severe major depressive disorder.

 

If you think you may qualify as having an SMI, consider reaching out to your local public mental health program to ask for an assessment. Even if you don't have or don't think you have an SMI, it's still worth contacting your local clinic. Some clinics may be able to serve clients with moderate mental health conditions, and if you're not eligible, an intake counselor may be able to give you a free referral.

How Can You Find Out More About Local Programs in Nevada?

 

One way to find out about your local public mental health clinic in Nevada is to call the program directly. For your convenience we've included contact information for Nevada's public outpatient mental health programs below. Other ways to learn more about local mental health resources in Nevada include contacting Crisis Support Services of Nevada at (800) 273-8255 or calling 2-1-1 Nevada. For general information about the Nevada public mental health system, you can contact the Division of Public and Behavioral Health's central office at (775) 684-4200. 

 

The number for the statewide mental health crisis line in Nevada is the same as the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255), but Nevadans who call that number will be connected with Crisis Support Services of Nevada, one of the state's oldest mental health nonprofits and one of the oldest crisis centers in the country. This program has been helping Nevadans get through mental health crises for over fifty years.

 

Nevada's Mental Health Clinics and Access Numbers

Nevada's mental health system is split into three parts. Most public mental health resources are concentrated in the northern part of the state in and around Reno and in the southern part of the state in and around Las Vegas. Northern Nevada is served by Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services (NNAMHS) and Southern Nevada is served by Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services (SNAMHS). The rest of the state is served by a network of rural clinics run by Rural Counseling and Supportive Services (RCSS). Each of these organizations—RCSS, NNAMHS, and SNAMHS—is a unit within the state Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH). Below, you will find contact information for each individual DPBH outpatient clinic:

 

  • Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services 
    • o   Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255 or (800) 992-5757 or (775) 784-8090
    • o   NNAMHS Clinic (Sparks): (775) 688-2001

 

  • Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services
    • o   Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255 or (800) 992-5757 or (775) 784-8090
    • SNAMHS West Charleston Clinic (Las Vegas): (702) 486-7107
    • SNAMHS East Sahara Clinic (Las Vegas): (702) 486-6400
    • SNAMHS Henderson Clinic (Henderson): (702) 486-6700
    • SNAMHS Laughlin Behavioral Health Center (Laughlin): (702) 298-5313
    • SNAMHS Mesquite Behavioral Health Center (Mesquite): (702) 346-4696

 

  • Rural Counseling and Supportive Services
    • o   Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255 or (800) 992-5757 or (775) 784-8090
    • Battle Mountain RCSS (Battle Mountain, Lander County): (775) 635-5753
    • Caliente RCSS (Caliente, Lincoln County): (775) 726-3368 or (702) 346-4696
    • Carson RCSS (Carson City): (775) 687-0870
    • Dayton RCSS (Dayton, Lyon County): (775) 461-3769
    • Douglas RCSS (Gardnerville, Douglas County): (775) 782-3671
    • Elko RCSS (Elko, Elko County): (775) 738-8021
    • Ely RCSS (Ely, White Pine County): (775) 289-1671
    • Fallon RCSS (Fallon, Churchill County): (775) 423-7141
    • Fernley RCSS (Fernley, Lyon County): (775) 575-7744
    • Hawthorne RCSS (Hawthorne, Mineral County): (775) 945-3387
    • Lovelock RCSS (Lovelock, Pershing County): (775) 273-1036
    • Pahrump RCSS (Pahrump, Nye County): (775) 751-7406
    • Panaca RCSS (Panaca, Lincoln County): (775) 635-5753
    • Silver Springs RCSS (Silver Springs, Lyon County): (775) 577-0319
    • Tonopah RCSS (Tonopah, Nye County): (775) 482-6742
    • Winnemucca RCSS (Winnemucca, Humboldt County): (775) 623-6580
    • Yerington RCSS (Yerington, Lyon County): (775) 463-3191

 

Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are another option for public mental health care in Nevada. These federally-funded programs provide medical and mental health services to people in underserved communities. Their goal is to deliver high-quality coordinated care to people with complex needs and to link behavioral healthcare with primary medical care. Each FQHC accepts Medicaid and Medicare and offers sliding-scale fees to people without insurance. You can search for FQHCs using the online search tool on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. 

 

How Does Nevada's Public Mental Health System Work?

Nevada's mental health system was established in the late 1800s. The state built its first asylum in 1882 and started serving patients there in 1883. This put Nevada ahead of the curve in the early days of mental health care. However, its system fell behind over the following decades. 

 

While other states shifted away from institutional care in the 1950s and 1960s, Nevada continued to depend on its early mental health infrastructure. The state founded some community mental health programs and clinics after John F. Kennedy signed the federal Community Mental Health Act into law in 1963, but it did not establish a complete statewide system linking or standardizing these programs. Nevada did not even open a public psychiatric hospital in the southern part of the state until 1975.

 

Nevada's unique geography, culture, and economy have made it particularly vulnerable to the effects of economic recessions. The state made major funding cuts to public services including the mental health system in 1992 in response to a national recession. The system never fully recovered and was significantly cut again after the 2007 recession. Continual cuts to funding for mental health and Nevada's fragmented system have consistently put the state at the bottom of national mental health rankings like Mental Health America's

 

In 2013, a series of mental health scandals surfaced in Nevada. An investigative piece in The Sacramento Bee revealed that the state hospital had been busing discharged mental health patients to other states, often with disastrous results. The state's largest mental health hospital, Rawson-Neal, lost its accreditation from the Joint Commission. The state was sued in multiple class-action lawsuits over its hospital discharge policies and long wait times for mentally ill inmates waiting for evaluation and treatment.

 

Fortunately, these crises spurred some long-needed action. State and local mental health funding has been increased. New inpatient sites and beds have been opened. New crisis intervention programs and policies are being established across the state. Nevada's Medicaid expansion gave more citizens access to private mental health resources, reducing the demand on the state system. The state is considering moving to a regional mental health system that would better distribute and manage mental health resources in the state's urban population centers as well as across rural communities in the 95,000 miles of sparsely populated land between Reno and Las Vegas.

 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), only 32 percent of people in Nevada who have mental health conditions get treatment for them. One reason for the care gap is that people aren't aware of their options for affordable mental health care, including the public system. You can help change these statistics by reaching out and using local mental health resources to get the care you need.


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