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Meeting offers valuable opportunity

We have a feeling that most residents would have a difficult time listing mental health services that are available in our area and advising others about how to access them.

In fact, we believe that some folks might shy away from the subject altogether. People who will readily discuss cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions just don’t want to talk about mental illness — it’s an uncomfortable subject for many of us.

That can make it difficult to know where to turn when a friend or family member needs help. What services are out there and how do we go about finding the support we need?

A meeting scheduled Wednesday in Denton should be a great starting point for finding answers to questions like these.

Denton County MHMR Center officials will be at Denton’s North Branch Library, located at 3020 N. Locust St., from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to offer the public information about mental health services that are available in our area. Phyllis Finley, who works in crisis training and community outreach for the agency, will lead the meeting.

Finley told us that the session at the library is being offered not only to bring people up to date on new services but also to provide information about old services that they may not have known about before.

She said the agency has a few new services funded by Section 1115 Medicaid Waiver funds from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services that will be discussed.

The 1115 Medicaid Waiver, started in 2011, focuses on increasing access to care for Medicaid-eligible populations in health care and behavioral health care across the state, in an effort to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and costly emergency room visits.

Services provided by Denton County MHMR include a new psychiatric triage and integrated health care clinic that opened March 31. Officials will hold an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. today for the official grand opening of the facility, which is located at 2509 Scripture St.

Another service is the Center for Integrated Health, which opened May 27. Individuals who have co-morbid chronic health conditions, mental illness, and/or substance abuse disorders are able to receive treatment from a primary care physician and behavioral health care.

In August, the agency will open a Crisis Residential Unit. Officials said the new unit will help the center serve individuals in a less restrictive, more appropriate treatment setting. It also will help by providing constant monitoring and at least four hours of intensive skills training daily, without the cost of hospitalization.

We thank Denton County MHMR for scheduling the meeting and we encourage the public to attend.

It’s a valuable opportunity to learn more about key resources in our community.