Tehama County, Home of Crazed School Gunman, Has Just Two Psychiatrists
Rural counties across the United States are suffering from a dearth of qualified mental health professionals that places patients and the public at increased risk. As it turns out, these mental health deserts include Tehama County, California where a lone gunman recently shot more than a dozen people, killing five.
An area is generally considered underserved in the field of mental health if the population-to-psychiatrist ratio is equal to or greater than 30,000:1 (20,000:1 in high-need areas). State records show that Tehama County, which has a population of some 64,000 people, is home two just two psychiatrists.
Statewide, there are almost 2 psychiatrists per 10,000 people, so Tehama is clearly underserved by comparison. But it isn’t an anomaly. Twenty-three other counties in the state have fewer than 2:10,000. Most of them are in rural Northern California. In six Northern California counties, there are no pscyhiatrists at all.
Neighbors, family and law enforcement who came in contact with the shooter, Kevin Janson Neal, have painted a picture of a severely disturbed individual who was falling further and further into darkness, mania and paranoia in the days leading up to the crime.
Read more at the Sacramento Bee.