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Working to Improve Nevada's Mental Health

Nevada has the highest prevalence of mental illness and substance use in the nation combined with limited access to treatment and a shortage of care providers.

Renown Health and Charles N. and Stacie L. Mathewson established the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown which to expand community access to prevention and intervention services for mental health disorders and alcohol and drug addiction.

In the years ahead, the Institute will expand intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs and medication-assisted treatment to better serve those struggling with mental illness and addiction. The Institute will also work to decrease stigma and encourage more people to seek help.

As the community’s only not-for-profit healthcare system, philanthropic support and partnerships are vital to providing and expanding critical services in our region. Generous donations like this one from the Mathewsons catalyze Renown’s work and create meaningful impact across the Truckee Meadows.

Focusing on Local Youth

Mental health and addiction affect people of all ages. Nevada once again ranks 51st for youth mental health with suicide as the second-leading cause of death for Nevadans ages 10 to 34. Working to move the needle and improve these heartbreaking statistics is a key focus for the Institute as Stacie Mathewson watched her own son struggle with addiction and recovery for years before he passed away from a drug overdose in February 2013.

As local behavioral experts learn more about the treatment needs of northern Nevada youth, they will work to design new services that address any potential gaps.

The Institute will also work with community partners that provide parent education to address early childhood risk and increase protective factors that reduce risk such as maintaining close ties to family and community, and developing coping skills.

Additionally, the Institute will create a registry at Renown Regional Medical Center to identify and track babies who are born addicted. The registry will help provide individual case management to meet the medical needs of the baby as well as parents working toward long-term recovery or support for foster and adoptive parents.

Facts & Figures

Youth Statistics in Washoe County

  • 1 in 4 regularly engage in binge drinking
  • 1 in 4 currently use marijuana (45% have used marijuana)
  • 1 in 5 have used prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription
  • 1 in in 10 currently take prescription drugs without a doctor’s prescription
  • 1 in 10 have used ecstasy, cocaine, synthetic marijuana or inhalants

Building Understanding through Research

The Institute’s work to change the status of mental health and addiction in northern Nevada will extend to research. The goal is to lower substance abuse and addiction using predictive models of risk by improving early warning signs and offering better tools for parents to reduce their child’s risk.

The lessons learned will guide best practices in our community and ultimately, contribute to national efforts to improve the care and treatment of mental illness and addiction.