More psychiatric hospitals needed, Potter County judge says

POTTER COUNTY, Texas — As 2023 begins, Potter County in the Texas Panhandle is facing the same growing problem as many other Lone Star state communities: a shortage of mental health services.

Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner holds mental health hearings for 25 of the 26 counties in the Panhandle, so she’s seeing the problem firsthand weekly.

And she says the problem starts with the fact that Amarillo, the county seat, doesn’t have its own psychiatric hospital but sends patients more than 200 miles — nearly four hours — south.

“The patients I refer to the state hospital go all the way down to Wichita Falls, and most of the time they’re full,” Judge Tanner continued InsideTexas Politics. “And so they’re just left here and then they finally let them go. And they come back a month later and we do it all over again.”

Judge Tanner, the first Potter County judge to be reelected to a third term, says she has asked the state for help and has had ongoing discussions with Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and State Senator Kevin Sparks.

“The chances are very, very good that I’ll get a hospital up here,” she said. “We’ve got sheriff’s deputies and cops picking up these patients and they’re gone, that’s a whole day they lose from here taking patents down there.”

https://www.kvue.com/article/news/politics/inside-politics/texas-politics/potter-county-judge-nancy-tanner-calling-for-state-health-hospital-inside-texas-politics/287-75dbaabe-18c6-4321-83b0-b9f1a300a3ac More psychiatric hospitals needed, Potter County judge says

Laura Coffey

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