Mental health ongoing problem in Southern Arizona - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Mental health ongoing problem in Southern Arizona

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Mental health is an ongoing problem in Southern Arizona. Sheriff Chris Nanos was very outspoken after one of his deputies was involved with an armed man who was not compliant on Wednesday.

The deputy opened fire. The suspect, Kyle Montgomery, was shot and treated for non-life threatening injuries. Last week, Montgomery was involved in an incident where he stabbed himself trying to commit suicide. He was treated for his injuries and evaluated. He was then released.

"It's disheartening to know, here on Monday, we served a court order at Sonora Behavioral Health, where he was in their care and here we are two days later, and he’s doing the same thing," said Nanos.

Clarke Romans, executive director at Nami, an organization that helps people with mental health, said mental health organizations can really help, but some people who suffer may end up back on the streets.

"People don't like being in psychiatric hospitals," said Romans. "They are not unintelligent. They know what kind of answers to give the doctor or nurses to get out."

Organizations, like the Crisis Response Center, can take in people voluntarily. They can also take in those who law enforcement feel are harmful to themselves. The CRC has a 23 hour observation unit.

"A unit where people can stay overnight, where they are constantly observed to make sure they are safe," said chief clinical officer Margie Balfour. "We can start medications. We have group therapy. We really aggressively work on coming up with an outpatient plan for them to be able to get the resources they need in the community."

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