TAMIU holds forum on mental health in Laredo

Over 500,000 Texans suffer from some form of mental illness.
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LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) - Caring for the mentally ill is an issue for cities across the country and Laredo is no exception, but that could be changing.

Right now, there's one facility to help the mentally ill in Laredo and the number of people it can help is limited.
Some people say more needs to be done and it looks like that help may be on the way.

The Border Region Behavioral Health Center is the only facility in Laredo equipped to help the mentally ill.
Jackie Lopez is the center's program administrator.

"Mental health is a problem here in Laredo and were seeing the need is greater every year. We're currently servicing 11 hundred children and youth and 13 hundred adults", said Lopez.

Mental health is something that affects communities all across the country and is why a forum to talk about these very issues is being held at TAMIU.

The meadows mental health policy institute, in Dallas, spoke at the event as part of their Texas State of Mind tour. Vice president Andy Keller says more needs to be done.

"A lot of times we don't talk about mental health and there's a stigma out there. I think raising awareness that's there's service that work will help everyone", said Keller.

Members of the community were invited to attend. Barry Bernier is a veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

"When you create a venue where individuals can talk about their feelings that's a positive step", said Bernier.

The propose of the forum is to discuss creating programs and policies that help Texans obtain effective and efficient mental health care.

The meadows mental health institute says they host these events to hear from the community and find out what services are needed. The fact there's only one facility in Laredo is something they hope to address.

Laredo is the 7th city on the institute's "Texas State of Mind Tour."

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