SHERMAN, Texas (KTEN) – Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Thursday he's proud of the state Senate for passing legislation designed to create a grant program to direct state funding to improve mental health bed capacity and services.

Mental health services in Texas were struggling to meet the demand in 2022.

One year later, things are only getting worse in Grayson County and across the state. 

“Over 80 percent of the counties in the State of Texas were considered mental health professional shortage areas; today it’s 98 percent,” said Child and Family Guidance Center executive director Brenda Hayward. “We rank dead last in the number of providers versus the need for care. And that has been happening for many years... not just because of the pandemic. It’s been going on for probably two decades.”

Organizations like the Child and Family Guidance Center are losing potential employees because they’re drawn to other places.

“They’ll get drawn to the Metroplex — for higher wages and different living conditions,” explained CFGC clinical director Loren Hervey.

“There’s been a little bit of a shift since the pandemic of therapists being recruited more toward, remote type of working,” Hayward said.

The virtual style of guidance worked for a little bit, but the CFGC sees the value of face-to-face contact with their patients.

“We see a lot of delay when it comes to social skills and in terms of overall mental well-being, and so we see a constant need that we are unable to keep up with the demand,” Hervey said.

Since a lot of the potential hires wanted to strictly be online, CFGC couldn’t make it work. But they hope a new wave of professionals will help them overcome a massive problem in Texas – and specifically in Texoma.