Study finds Northeast Texans at higher risk for this concerning health issue

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A study which considered 23 counties in Northeast Texas found that people living there were more susceptible to depression and suicide.

The 2017 Regional Needs Assessment study was conducted by the Prevention Resource Center (PRC) in collaboration with the East Texas Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC).

One of the biggest reasons people in the northeast Texas area classified as Region 4 by the PRC have a higher susceptibility to mental health conditions is a lack of places to go for treatment, according to the Longview News-Journal.

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The PRC’s needs assessment study cites a “need for more regional detox and mental health facilities, as waiting lists are so long that people feel discouraged…” in the executive summary of its findings. It also cites a higher rate of cancer, heart disease and lung disease.

According to the News-Journal, no county in the 23 surveyed had a suicide mortality rate below the state average, and the region’s overall rate is five points higher. Gregg County in particular had a rate of 6.4 per 100,000 residents seeking care for psychiatric conditions. The state average is 4.5.

Local officials are trying to work together to find ways to solve the high demand for mental health and substance abuse treatment in these areas. A company called Community HealthCore has formed a partnership with the Longview Police department to train officers on how to spot the signs when a person needs help.

“Officers will be able to look at signs and symptoms of a person and realize that it’s more of a mental health issue and can triage them to a mental health provider,” Dr. Stanley Williams, managing director of Community HealthCore, said in an interview. “It’s kind of amazing that they would want to do that. That’s an example of working together.”

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