Homicide Raises Questions About Nevada Mental Health Services - 8 News NOW

Homicide Raises Questions About Nevada Mental Health Services

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David Monarrez David Monarrez

LAS VEGAS - Many questions remain surrounding the Sunday murder of 59-year-old Rosa Monarrez.

The victim's brother Clemente Monarrez believes mental illness played a significant role in the moments leading to her death.

"She was bipolar, and she was slowly getting worse," he said. "My nephew too, both of them – that's tough. It's not easy. It's not easy."

The nephew and suspect, 29-year-old David Monarrez is in custody - charged with murder. Clemente tells 8 News NOW David is nearly deaf, incapable of forming complete sentences and a diagnosed schizophrenic.

Psychiatrist Dr. Lesley Dickson says schizophrenia is a mental illness that, if untreated, can some times lead to the patient hurting him or herself or others.

"They frequently tend to be very paranoid, very concerned about their environment, people in their environment," she said.

Dr. Dickson says mentally ill patients find it difficult to get the care they need in Nevada.

"We usually fall into the bottom tier," she said. "We get like a D the last time I saw any ratings. So yeah, we're way down there."

A recent federal study ranked Nevada the 8th worst state in the country for mental health treatment. A lack of funding contributes largely to the problem. In 2011, lawmakers cut mental health services by 14% in order to balance the budget. The cuts affect nearly every one in five Nevadans who battle mental illness.

"If they don't get services frequently enough, they will drift away," Dr. Dickson said. "No one will be encouraging them to take their medication, to go to their groups and things like that."

Dickson believes lawmakers aren't tuned to the problems of the mentally ill. The federal study also found 40% of people with mental health issues do not seek treatment.

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