West Texas Hospital Tackles Depression Problems

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

Only a few weeks old and already the Basin's newest hospital is looking to bring on extra staff to deal a growing problem in West Texas. While it might not be the most visible, depression is skyrocketting as the economy plummets.

The BCA Behavioral Hospital in Midland was designed to handle any and all types of serious mental health issues. They've only been open a few months, but so far they've discovered 80 percent of all their patients are dealing with depression, something the nursing staff says only escalates.

"I think everybody is becoming more aware and more educated that it is a problem and we need to address it," Lisa Morgan, R.N. of Psychiatric and Mental Health, said.

Lisa works with all types of psychiatric patients but she says almost everyone that comes through the door is struggling with depression.

"When they suffer from depression, the schools suffer," Morgan said. "For adults, when you're in a work setting, work suffers, your employer, it has impacts everywhere, every part of your life."

Lately the bulk of the problem originates at the office.

"You think about the family, maybe the mom or dad loses their job and there's that extra financial burden on the family," Tanya Favor with BCA Permian Basin, said. "It leads to greater symptoms."

"Definitely the breadwinner is going to have added struggles and pressures but then that puts a burden on everyone else," Favor said. "Tensions raise, anxiety levels increase, it can impact everyone in the family."

Before the hospital moved in patients had to drive to San Angelo or Lubbock to get help, but now West Texans can find help right at home. Officials say it's even a relief to taxpayers saving deputies from driving the most severe patients out of the area.

"One of the great benefits of having someone right here in the Permian Basin is quick access to care and great follow up once they leave the facility," Favor said.

Most of their patients are housed at the facility for about ten days then they're transitioned into outpatient treatment.

"Typically you see a whole different person when they leave, so it's very rewarding," Morgan said.

The hospital just added a new psychiatrist and they're searching for extra nurses to help out with the growing number of patients. The geriatric unit will be the final phase of the behavioral facility and will open by the fall.