Mental Health in Carson City: ‘I didn’t want to live that lifestyle’ |

Mental Health in Carson City: ‘I didn’t want to live that lifestyle’

Taylor Pettaway |

Mental health in CARSON City

Continuing through the month of June, the Nevada Appeal will explore mental health in Carson City.

Final week:

Final week: ‘I didn’t want to life that lifestyle’

Last week: Resources put emphasis on prevention to decrease cost of treatment in community

Last week: One man’s struggle with mental illness

Earlier: This week: School district enacts new suicide policy

Earlier: Ron Swirczek urges those with family members dealing with mental health issues to educate themselves on signs of suicide

Earlier: Working together to address the core of the problem

For a full list of Carson City Resources and more information on each go here.

Carson City Resources

Carson City offers a number of resources to assist with individuals with mental health. Below is a brief description of some of the resources.


Crisis Intervention Training is a program offered with the Carson City Sheriff’s Office for deputies to learn skills and techniques to better assist individuals with mental health issues. This is meant to help reduce the number of individuals ending up in the jail and provide additional resources.


The Mobile Outreach Safety Team is also a program through the Sheriff’s Office that pairs a licensed clinical social worker to address responses to psychiatric emergencies with law enforcement. Call 775-291-7715.


The Forensic Assessment Services Triage Team is run through the jail to help individuals already in the criminal justice system receive a treatment plan inside and outside the jail.

Mental Health Court

This program is developed through the court system as a diversion program to provide a supervised, comprehensive diagnostic and treatment program for mental illness to address the problem of minor criminal behavior associated with mental health issues.


The Juvenile Justice Assessment Triage Team was created for the juvenile justice system as a diversionary tactic to provide treatment for children who have mental health issues. This program is a six-month treatment plan, meant to steer them from probation when it isn’t as necessary. Mallory Crisis Center

Carson City’s newest resource acts as a psychiatric facility for patients in crisis to help get them immediate treatment. The facility is meant to reduce the number of individuals with mental illness that end up in the jail and Carson Tahoe Hospital emergency room. Call 775-445-8889. NAMI

The National Alliance for Mental Illness is a volunteer-based organization that provides classes, tools and resources for individuals and their families to help deal with mental health issues. Call 775-440-1626 or visit

Monique Taylor started developing mental health issues as a child following a traumatic sexual assault, but because she wasn’t able to deal with the trauma as a child, she turned to methamphetamine as an adult.

As a child, Taylor spent years being sexually assaulted by her stepfather and even after he was arrested, she had to relive the trauma through testimony at his trial and probation hearing. Years later, not only was she dealing with a mentally and physically abusive husband, but she discovered that her son had also been sexually assaulted.

“I had a lot of depression issues, a lot of stuff going on,” Taylor said.

Developing a mental illness from childhood trauma isn’t uncommon, according to health care professionals. Professionals cite the Center for Disease Control-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences study conducted in the 1990s, which discovered a correlation between childhood trauma and negative health outcomes later in life. There are about 10 things considered trauma in childhood ranging from divorce to sexual assault and the more trauma a person experiences in their childhood, the more likely they are to develop substance abuse, mental health and health issues later in life.

“There is a large correlation between mental health and trauma,” said Jessica Flood, Carson Tahoe Regional Behavioral Health coordinator. “For example, someone who has a score of 6 out of 10 (on the ACES study), they are 4,600 percent more likely to be an IV drug user. These kids turn into the adults we are working with (because they have mental health disorders), and the research showing is that a lot of them probably had a lot of trauma when they were younger.

“A lot of these issues are created from trauma in childhood and some people are lucky enough to be able to just “get over it” but the fact is some people aren’t lucky enough or maybe don’t have the coping skills needed to overcome some of this trauma. So there are many people who have had a lot of trauma that no one is talking about. These individuals are developing mental health and substance abuse issues and our society doesn’t see that trauma can be root causes of these issues.”

For Taylor, developing the severe depression led her to start using drugs as an adult as a coping mechanism.

“I was going through a lot of depression with everything so I turned to meth to get rid of the depression, basically,” Taylor said.

Taylor’s coping method is also common with people with mental health issues, Flood said. Many of the individuals they see at Behavioral Health Services and other mental health resources around the city, have a co-occurring disorder with both mental health and substance abuse issues.

“It’s 80 percent of individuals with serious mental illness also have substance use, the relationship is striking,” Flood said. “A vast majority of mental health individuals have co-occurring diagnoses.”

Flood said a lot of mental health individuals self medicate with alcohol, marijuana or hard drugs like meth and heroin to deal the difficult symptoms associated with their condition.

“Unfortunately, even if people feel in the moment that it’s helping, it is actually just exasperating their symptoms,” Flood said. “So drinking and using drugs is actually making it worse.”

It wasn’t until Taylor was arrested nearly eight years ago that she was able to get help. She was arrested in Reno on a conspiracy to commit burglary charge and upon sentencing, the judge ordered her to attend mental health court.

At first, Taylor didn’t want to participate and only did the bare minimum to get through the program. In her mind, the treatment wasn’t necessary.

“I thought it was a joke to begin with.” Taylor said. “I started doing the classes and the AA meetings and all that stuff, but for the first six months, I was only doing it half-assed, only what I had to do, only this, only that and then finally something kicked into my head and I put my heart into it for the last six months.

“I didn’t want to live that lifestyle, I didn’t want to see those (jail) bars … I think that’s when it finally clicked that I needed to put my heart into it.”

Taylor said her two children and the support from her mental health advocates in the court is what made her realize that she needed help.

“It helped me totally get away from the drugs, it gave me the right classes and the right tools to work and get clean,” Taylor said.

And Aug. 11 will mark Taylor’s eighth year of sobriety because of the program and she said that’s a lifestyle she is leaving in the past.

“My mind is so headstrong right now that I will never go back,” Taylor said. “I am still clean. I pay my bills on time. I’m not moving from house to house. I’m not worried about the cops behind me, worried they will take my kids. I’m not worried about whether or not I will have the drugs around or have money or anything like that. Now I don’t have to worry about my kids.”

Even when things get difficult for her, like her recent bout with cancer and radiation treatment, she has been able to overcome it and deal with it in a healthy manner.

“I didn’t want to get back into the mindset which I figured out, I am strong enough to do it,” Taylor said. “And I do think mental health court is the one that did that for me. I am proud of it.”