Shooting sparks debate about mental health intervention

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- This months shootings in Tucson have sparked a national conversation erupting over the issue of mental health.

Many say there were signs missed, that could have prevented Jared Loughner's violent shooting spree. 

The first step in determining if a person has a mental health issue is looking for signs.

"Some of the internal experiences can be seeing or hearing things that other people can't see or hear, having beliefs about the world that are not necessarily true," said Dr. Breitborde.

Dr. Nicholas Breitborde has been working at the Early Psychosis Intervention Center for more than a year. The program treats adult patients in the early stages of psychosis.

"We offer three evidence based treatments for psychosis that individuals typically nationwide have trouble accessing," said Dr. Breitborde.

Before the patient gets any sort of treatment they must go through an evaluation to determine what issues that person faces.

"People with psychosis no one experiences the same set of symptoms but there's a whole check list of different things that they could be experiencing to see if they hit on a few items we associate with psychotic disorders," said Dr. Breitborde.

Once the person is determined to be a psych patient. They have the option of choosing the treatment they think works best for them.

"Cognitive behavioral therapy, multi-family group psycho education and cognitive remediation, which is intervention designed to improve some of the thinking problems that occur," said Dr. Breitborde.

Dr. Breitborde says, getting help for patients in the first five years is crucial.

"Doing so we can reduce the cost of treatment because you prevent a lot of bad outcomes from happening but it dramatically improves clinical outcomes 5,10, even 20 years down the road," said Breitborde.

What's down the road for behavioral health at UPH is a new facility expected to open in the summer of this year.