Challenges to Finding Timely Access to Mental Health Services in - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Challenges to Finding Timely Access to Mental Health Services in Delaware

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MILFORD, Del. - It was several minutes of terror inside Sandy Hook Elementary School.  A year ago, Saturday, 20-year old Adam Lanza walked into the Newtown Connecticut school and opened fire killing 20 children and six adults. He then turned the gun on himself.
Lanza allegedly suffered from a serious mental illness.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, of Delaware's approximately 900,000 residents, nearly 29,000 adults and about 9,000 children live with a serious mental illness.

Statistics show that in the past six years, nearly 1,000 adults and more than 300 juveniles with mental illnesses were incarcerated in Delaware.
"Parts of the puzzle are doing very well. There are a lot more providers, better training, more people getting sophisticated about the services and what's dragging is availability, (meaning) getting in and how some insurance companies just don't make it possible to get the care that you want," said Joseph Zingaro, clinical director at People's Place in Milford.  

"When I started in 1984, if you wanted a therapy session you could probably get one in a day or two. That doesn't happen anymore," said Zingaro.

He says attracting more child psychiatrists to Delaware is a challenge.

People's Place has one.

"To get an appointment with her means you're going to wait about six months. You can imagine if you're a parent, even if you have insurance and you want your child to see a psychiatrist through our clinic, it may be a 4-6 months wait and that's difficult for people. We might get them to see a therapist faster, but if a child would need medicine to do well, that type of a lack of resources is a chronic problem south of the canal," said Zingaro.

Zingaro says it's a problem that needs to be addressed.

"Part of our job when we're interviewing is selling Delaware. Delaware is a phenomenal place to live, but it's like a really well kept secret," said Zingaro.

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