POMPANO BEACH, Fla., Oct. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Sovereign Health, a leading national provider of behavioral health treatment services, announces a new article called, "The Trouble with Florida's Mental Health System," written by Jennifer Fallon of LifeZette, featuring Ashish "Ash" Bhatt, M.D., Sovereign Health's Chief Medical Officer (CMO). The article features Dr. Bhatt discussing the need for mental health services in Florida, where state legislators have cut $100 million from the budget since 2009.
A 2015 U.S. Census Bureau report ranked Florida No. 3, making the need for mental health services even more critical, yet its mental health funding ranks 49th out of the 50 states. The budget cut for mental health services has left state hospitals short-staffed and underfunded.
Dr. Bhatt explains that having an intact family unit, strong support system and a cohesive community all bolster mental health. Dr. Bhatt told LifeZette, "We're very individualized. Other countries have a sense of family and community and culture. Often that has demonstrated a higher protective factor, especially for mental illness. Our society is constantly super competitive and stressful and work-oriented, and that plays a huge part in people getting stressed out. When you're isolated and you go to work and you don't have a support system, there is an increased susceptibility to anxiety or depression."
When asked to speak about the increase in patients using the emergency room as their regular care, Dr. Bhatt replied, "Our acute care services are used to a higher degree, but we don't get a lot of stabilization as a result. Emergency rooms are for crisis, not for maintenance."
He also explained that high rates of substance abuse and alcohol intake among the younger population, specifically ages 13 to 25, can contribute to mental instability later. Those substances impair executive function.
This shortage of funding in mental health treatment services undermines the care that is available. Last year, the Florida state Legislature attempted to pass 22 bills to improve the mental health system. Not one passed. Ms. Fallon states that the lack of community support and cohesion could be exacerbating the mental health crisis in Florida — as well as across the nation.
Sovereign Health operates nine treatment facilities in five states: California, Arizona, Florida, Texas and Utah. The facilities are fully licensed and have been awarded Gold Seal accreditation by The Joint Commission, the highest level of accreditation available in the behavioral health field.
About Sovereign Health
Sovereign Health's mission is to provide a broad spectrum of high-quality behavioral health treatment services for adults and adolescents, including support services for family members. One factor that differentiates Sovereign from other treatment providers has been the company's ability to offer separate mental health and addiction or dual diagnosis treatment programs at its facilities. For more information, visit www.sovhealth.com.
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SOURCE Sovereign Health