Potter County, Texas — As we enter 2023, Potter County in the Texas Panhandle, like many other communities in the Lone Star State, faces increasing challenges. It’s a lack of mental health services.
Potter County Judge Nancy Tanner sees this issue firsthand every week as she holds mental health hearings in 25 of the Panhandle’s 26 counties.
And she says the problem lies in the fact that Amarillo, the county seat, does not have its own mental hospital and instead sends patients more than 200 miles (nearly four hours) south.
“Patients I order from state hospitals travel all the way to Wichita Falls and most of the time they are full,” said Judge Tanner. Inside Texas Politics“And they were left here and finally let go. And they came back in a month and we start all over again.”
Potter County’s first female justice, Judge Tanner, who was just reelected to a third term, said she is seeking help from the state and is in ongoing conversations with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senator Kevin Sparks.
“There’s a really, really good chance that I’ll build a hospital here,” she said. They’re going to take a patent from here and lose the day.”