El Paso Behavioral Health Summit to focus on improving services for children and youth – MMHPI – Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute
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El Paso Behavioral Health Summit to focus on improving services for children and youth

This article was published by KFOX14 on March 21, 2024. Read the full article on KFOX14’s website

A group of local leaders, brought together by the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, gathered at El Paso Community College Thursday to take stock of the state of mental health and addiction services in the Borderland.

The Consortium Community Behavioral Health Progress Summit took place Thursday at El Paso Community College, and offered local leaders from the public and private sector, as well as health professionals and stakeholders, the opportunity to recognize the work local organizations and agencies are doing to improve community mental health and addiction support services.

Likewise, the meeting focused on system improvements that impact children, teens and families.

Enrique Mata, Executive Director at the Paso del Norte Center at Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute, said the Consortium — which was founded in 2015 — has provided healthcare leaders and stakeholders a way to collate all the data that it’s collected on behavioral and mental health, in order to improve access and resources in the Borderland.

“It’s a big challenge, and as we’re transforming and moving away from the negative bias that surrounds mental illness, we’re seeing better solutions and through these collaborations, we’re seeing better ways to address a mental health condition early, before it gets to a severe level,” said Mata.

According to a 2021 El Paso Behavioral Health System Assessment, more than half — or roughly 35,000 — of youth and children who reported having a mental health issue had mild conditions, while about 15,000 had moderate conditions and another 10,000 had mental health needs that caused “substantial impairment and are considered a serious emotional disturbance.”

Moreover, nearly 80 percent of the children and youth with an SED were living in poverty.