CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Deputy Brenda Pires is the Mental Health Unit Coordinator at the Iron County Sheriff’s Office. Since they don’t have their own receiving center, mental health patients are admitted to the Utah State Hospital.
“We only have 12 beds that are allocated to us at the Utah State Hospital,” says Pires.
The unit started in April and Pires worries, as slim resources are only getting thinner.
“Not having enough employees, not getting enough pay in order to keep the employees, our lack of therapists, they actually closed down 30 of our 150 bed throughout the state,” she says.
She says after cuts, they only have 9 beds for all the mental health patients in Iron County and even when they had 12 beds, it wasn’t enough.
“Every year our 12 beds are completely full at all times, we just rotate people out, there’s never really down time or lag time where we don’t have anybody in those beds,” she says.
Deputy Pires says there aren’t many options for officials to get people help.
“We only have one psychologist in Iron County, and the rest of them are therapists, which are great but they are limited, there’s only so much someone can do in a workday,” she says.
Pires says they need their own receiving center and she’s turning to the community for suggestions.
“A building that someone is aware of that isn’t being used, and they would be willing to give it to us to make a receiving center that would be awesome, I just think that if the state isn’t going to step up at this time to help us, maybe as a community, maybe we need to all gather together to come up with a solution on our own, to me this is a disaster, this is a crisis just like the floods we had in the summer,” says Pires.
She says if locals want to help, to send her an email – email@example.com