County takes steps in mental health initiatives | NevadaAppeal.com

County takes steps in mental health initiatives

From left, Commissioners Bus Scharmann and Chair Pete Olsen; Andrea Zeller of Churchill County Coalition, and Commissioner Vice Chair Carl Erquiaga declare May 16 as Mental Health Awareness Day in Churchill County on Wednesday.

Quality of resources of mental and behavioral health is one of Churchill County's priorities.

Because of that, the Churchill County Board of Commissioners adopted a proclamation declaring Mental Health Awareness Day and are planning ahead with incoming disbursements.

Nationally, May 16 was Mental Health Awareness Day or also known as Stepping Up/Day of Action; Churchill County is among 400 counties in the country to adopt a proclamation dedicating this day.

Starting next year, Churchill County will participate in local activities or hold an event to raise public awareness.

The program also is a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses in jails; In January 2016, commissioners also passed a resolution in support of it.

When it comes to disbursements, commissioners will next decide where to distribute the state's share of medical marijuana revenue, as Churchill County received $88,235.

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As medical marijuana is governed by Nevada Revised Statues 453A, fees associated with it are collected by the state and a percentage is given to local entities.

Comptroller Sherry Wideman said a portion of the revenue could support any burden of additional healthcare costs to county employee. She also suggested some of the money could go toward healthcare programs.

Although commissioners found the pitch reasonable, they also discussed how the revenue also could be an opportunity to expand mental health resources.

"We don't want to use the entire revenue but we should look at our responsibility to provide services in mental health, as discussed with Board of Health," said Commissioner Bus Scharmann. "Considering those in jail and give them a proper diagnosis."

Churchill County Human Resources Director Geof Stark said 20 out of 175 county employees are insured and the revenue also would cover half of them.

"There's been a 3 percent increase over the last five years but we don't know what the future holds," he said.

Commissioners mentioned health insurance deductible also increased between $1,000-$1,500.

For further input, Social Services Director and Public Guardian Shannon Ernst shared basic budget priorities with the Public Health Board. Some of those items included the Forensic Assessment Services Triage Teams (FASTT), which is a jail reentry management service also offered in Carson City, Douglas, and Lyon County jails.

Ernst said some of the other priorities within the jail included workforce development, technology, and increasing the liaisons role from 20 hours to 40 hours a week.

As the disbursement is from medical marijuana funds, Ernst suggested putting toward the money in marijuana education as well. As both options are under consideration, Wideman said another $88,000 of disbursement will arrive in November.

Commissioners agreed to reconvene and conduct a final decision in June.

Other items approved during May 16 meeting:

– Approval for Estate Distillery License for Frey Ranch Distillery.

– Approval to renew contract with IQ Technology Solutions in IT support in the amount of $239,340 until June 30, 2021.

– Approvel to renew bus lease with Churchill County School District for the 2018 SUMFUN Program.