By CLINT FOSTER
PALO PINTO – The recent shooting at the Washington Navy Yard that killed 12 people is just the latest in a long line of tragedies that seem to be casting a dark shadow over the United States. But lost in all of the debate and conversation about guns and their legality is perhaps the most important factor in all of these incidents: the mental health and need for treatment of the people who pulled the trigger and for those who haven’t yet.
According to various news outlets, Aaron Alexis – the shooter at the Navy Yard –twice visited the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to seek treatment for insomnia, but never got care from a mental health specialist.
Officials in Palo Pinto County aim to be part of the solution to this problem and seemingly want to make sure that anyone suffering from mental illness receives the full and proper help they need.
Pecan Valley Centers for Behavioral and Developmental Health Care Executive Director Coke Beatty stood before the county commissioners, during their regularly scheduled meeting Monday morning, to provide an update on his institution’s new improvements and additions and present the
effects of the 1115 Transformation Waiver Projects.
The mental health institution is in the process of an access-redesign project, Beatty said, in hopes of improving the ability of patients to see a doctor, get medication or see a case worker.
The purpose – so patients can “get engaged in the mental health system so they can get help quicker,” Beatty said. He added his facility went through a “self-imposed redesign process” about a year ago and went from a 45-day wait to a 25-day wait to see a doctor for non-emergency purposes.
In addition to their location in Fort Wolters, he said Pecan Valley is leasing an office space near Palo Pinto General Hospital that will serve as an outpatient clinic for those suffering from mental illness. Beatty said the building is finished remodeling and they are essentially only waiting for a router box before they open their doors. The clinic will house a full-time nurse, full-time specialized practice nurse, case worker and include labs and a mobile crisis team.