Lack of workers forcing North Texas State Hospital to turn patients away

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 6:34 PM CST
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - The list of worker shortages just keeps growing.

Mental health services are among the latest group asking for help.

The Texoma Community Center said right now, one of their biggest concerns is the North Texas State Hospital, which provides inpatient care for all ages, at least until recently.

Now TCC said they have to turn people away.

The Texoma Community Center said they received an emergency diversion notification from the North Texas State Hospital, meaning anyone who needs state hospitalization can’t be sent there right now.

“We don’t want to send people to the hospital, but sometimes that’s the only option,” said Diana Cantu, the Chief Executive Officer.

Cantu said out of 2,200 employees at the state hospital, they have 622 vacancies, and about a third of the staff is out.

“This is just kind of the perfect storm at this point of lack of resources in our county and lack of resources overall in the state to address mental health crises,” said Cantu.

And local police departments are raising concerns too.

“It’s more or less a trickle-down effect because a lot of times with police, we are the first ones to get called when people are in severe mental crises,” said Sherman Assistant Police Chief Bruce Dawsey.

Sherman police said the need for mental health resources keeps going as the pandemic continues.

“We have seen an increase with child abuse cases, with family violence issues and unfortunately with suicides because people that are used to getting out and functioning day to day and seeing and interacting with people, if they’re cooped up, and they’re not able to interact it starts creating stress,” said Dawsey.

Both TCC and Sherman Police said they’re looking for help in other places.

“If we don’t have that as an option right now, then we are going to create the community safety plans, and we are going to do our darndest to find a bed here locally or down south or somewhere in the state of Texas.”

TCC said the community safety plan would involve family and friends working with patients to make sure they stay safe in a mental health crisis and help them find local counselors.

If needed, they said they might have to put patients at TMC temporarily, and there’s no telling how long this emergency diversion could last.

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