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

SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) — The list of labor shortages keeps growing.

Mental health services are among the latest groups to seek help.

The Texoma Community Center said right now that one of its biggest concerns is 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 it received an emergency diversion notification from North Texas State Hospital, which means anyone requiring state hospitalization cannot be sent there at this time.

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

Cantu said out of 2,200 employees at the public hospital, there were 622 vacancies and about a third of staff were absent.

“It’s just kind of a perfect storm at this point of the lack of resources in our county and the lack of resources across the state to deal with mental health crises,” Cantu said.

And local police departments are also causing concern.

“It’s more or less a trickle down effect because often with the police we’re the first to be called when people are in serious mental crisis,” Sherman Deputy Police Chief Bruce Dawsey said.

Sherman Police said the need for mental health resources continues as the pandemic continues.

“We have seen an increase in cases of child abuse, domestic violence issues and unfortunately suicides, as people used to going out and operating day to day and seeing and interacting with people, if they are locked up, and they’re unable to interact, it starts to create stress,” Dawsey said.

TCC and Sherman Police said they were looking elsewhere for help.

“If we don’t have that option right now, we’ll create the community safety plans and we’ll do our best 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 ensure they stay safe in the event of a mental health crisis and help them find local counsellors.

If necessary, they said they may have to temporarily place patients at the TMC, and it’s unclear how long this emergency diversion could last.

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