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Shortage of mental health professionals in Nueces County

Posted at 10:29 PM, Sep 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-12 16:03:19-04

A local psychiatrist is aiming to educate the public about the need for mental health professionals in our area. She said some patients here in South Texas wait up to four months for an appointment with a doctor.

Daniela Badea-Mic has practiced in Corpus Christi for nearly three decades. She said the number of people with mental health disorders is growing, but the number of mental health professionals is not.

“The inpatient hospital beds have dwindled down, therefore, there’s less available crisis intervention means for our community,” Badea-Mic said.

As the Nueces County Jail’s board-certified psychiatrist, she said many people are being put behind bars who should be receiving psychiatric treatment.

“Instead of taking them to the hospital when they are trespassing or acting bizarrely, or even making a threat because of their mental status, they take them to the jail and not the hospital,” she said.

Badea-Mic added the shortage of mental health professionals directly correlates with homelessness.

“On top of that, a lot of people who are already mentally ill resort to the use of synthetic marijuana, which leads to homelessness, psychosis, assaults,” Dr. Badea-Mic said.

She said the county has received additional funding in recent years to combat the issue but acknowledges a long road ahead.