Jails, Hospitals on Frontline of Mental Health

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - On any given day about 140 people are taken to hospital emergency rooms in Nevada for a mental evaluation. Only about half of them have problems, psychiatric or physical, requiring inpatient care.

That and other statistics presented to a state panel Wednesday provided a sobering snapshot of Nevada's mental health system that has come under criticism in recent months amid allegations that patients were bused out of state.

Gov. Brian Sandoval created the 18-member Behavioral Health and Wellness Council by executive order in December. The council that includes members of law enforcement, judges, legislators, mental health and budget experts will assess Nevada's mental health system and recommend improvements.

Problems are especially acute in southern Nevada, where the Clark County jail is where most people are identified as having mental illness.