By Madalyn O’Neill
Officials are taking new steps to reduce the stigma of mental illness and make health services more available for every resident.
The area has a number of resources for those struggling with mental health issues, but not everyone can reasonably access them.
Dane County is planning a study budgeted at $100,000 to find gaps in services and ways to patch them.
“You can’t fix a problem until you fully understand it,” Dane County Executive Joe Parisi said.
He said the county puts tens of millions of dollars a year into mental health services, but not all residents are covered.
“Unfortunately, when we look countywide, it’s kind of a patchwork,” he said. “The county does some work, there are private insurers that do other work, there is medical assistance and there are places where there are gaps.”
Parisi said the county takes care of those without insurance, but they’re not the only ones who need help accessing treatment.
“Some challenges are often more in the private sector,” he said. “People who have HMOs or MA HMOs may have to wait very long periods of time to get services they need.”
Parisi wants to map the data out and see what areas need work.
“We need more information,” he said. “We want to be able to look at this map and identify where the services exist and where there might be gaps.”