"KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, 9/25/11, 7:30 AM & KTTU "In Focus," Sunday, 9/25/11, 10:30 AM

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Clarke Romans, Ph.D., Executive Director, Nat’l. Alliance on Mental Health, Southern Arizona. Mental Health Awareness Week is October 2-8.  

Romans says the focus of the week is “unmasking mental illness.”  He says the goal is to address the stigma and misunderstanding that is still associated with the disease.  He says mental illnesses are treatable, biologically based medical illnesses of the brain.  He says the media’s use of words like “psycho” and “lunatic” in the aftermath of the January 8th shootings here don’t help.  He says you wouldn’t call a person with colon cancer some sort of name.  He says the same should be true for people with mental illnesses.  

Romans talks about the two new facilities that have opened at the Kino Health Care campus on Ajo Way.  He says one is a psychiatric in-patient hospital, where patients are evaluated and a determination is made as to whether they should be admitted or referred to the Crisis Response Center next door.  He says both are 24-hour emergency treatment centers and he is hopeful law enforcement officers will bring people to the therapeutic setting instead of jail.  
Romans also speaks about funding cuts by the State Legislature.  He says a recent report found only 18-percent of adults with serious mental illness  received help from Arizona’s public mental health system. He says in the coming years the situation is bound to get worse.