May 31, 2018
Mental health and addiction are two struggles well known in the Silver State. For the second straight year, Nevada ranked 51st in the nation according to Mental Health America’s 2018 State of Mental Health Report. Overall, Nevada has the highest prevalence of mental illness and substance use, combined with limited access to treatment and a shortage of care providers.
Today, Renown Health and Charles N. and Stacie L. Mathewson established the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute at Renown which will focus on expanding community access to prevention and intervention services for mental health disorders and alcohol and drug addiction. Over the next five years, the Mathewsons will donate $6 million to Renown Health Foundation to establish this much-needed behavioral health and addiction institute in northern Nevada. These funds aim to decrease stigma and encourage more people to seek help.
Partnering to Expand Care and Recovery Services
In the years ahead, the Institute will expand intensive outpatient treatment, partial hospitalization programs and medication-assisted treatment to better serve those struggling with mental illness and addiction. Additionally, Renown care providers will partner and coordinate care with community organizations focused on recovery to provide services such as housing and social support. These vital services help patients reengage with family, school, workforce and community which leads to improved long-term recovery.
The Institute will work with community partners to establish an independent crisis facility that offers timely evaluations, stabilization and outpatient detox for those suffering from mental illness and substance abuse. Education and training on national best practices for screening and caring for substance abuse and mental illness as well as safe prescribing practices for opioids will be offered to community providers. In addition to expanding intensive outpatient and partial hospital care, Renown will work to integrate healing treatment programs such as exercise, art and music therapies to provide patients with individualized care that focuses on mind, body and spirit.
Focusing on Local Youth
Mental health and addiction affect people of all ages. Nevada once again ranks 51st for youth mental health with suicide as the second leading cause of death for Nevadans ages 10 to 34. Working to move the needle and improve these heartbreaking statistics is a key focus for the Institute as Stacie Mathewson watched her own son struggle with addiction and recovery for years before he passed away from a drug overdose in February 2013.
“It’s not fair to our kids if we don’t stand up and provide better solutions for young people,” said Stacie Mathewson, local philanthropist. “The Institute will create a plan for physicians to provide early screening and intervention to adolescents who may be at risk for alcohol or substance abuse. By starting to ask these questions at age 12, we may truly save young lives.”
Additionally, as local behavioral experts learn more about the treatment needs of northern Nevada youth, they will work to design new services that address any potential gaps. The Institute will also work with community partners that provide parent education to address early childhood risk and increase protective factors that reduce risk such as maintaining close ties to family and community, and developing coping skills.
The newly established Institute will also create a registry at Renown Regional Medical Center to identify and track babies who are born addicted. The registry will help provide individual case management to meet the medical needs of the baby as well as parents working toward long-term recovery or support for foster and adoptive parents.
Building Understanding through Research
The Institute’s work to change the status of mental health and addiction in northern Nevada will extend to research. Renown Institute for Health Innovation (Renown IHI) – a collaboration between Renown and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) – will conduct research on the genetic, environmental, individual and sociodemographic determinants that contribute to substance abuse and mental illness especially in the community’s youth.
“We know that understanding substance abuse and addiction is a complex problem. Just like heart disease and cancer, it’s a problem that requires a population health approach,” said Anthony Slonim, M.D., Dr.PH., FACHE, president and CEO of Renown Health. “There are genetic links that increase the risk of mental illness and substance abuse. We have to better understand these links and we believe our health literacy project with DRI, the Healthy Nevada Project, can help.”
With the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute, Renown IHI will research the various causes of mental illness and addiction. The goal is to lower substance abuse and addiction using predictive models of risk by improving early warning signs and offering better tools for parents to reduce their child’s risk. The lessons learned will guide best practices in our community and ultimately, contribute to national efforts to improve the care and treatment of mental illness and addiction.
“I applaud Renown and Charles and Stacie Mathewson for coming together to launch the Stacie Mathewson Behavioral Health & Addiction Institute,” Governor Brian Sandoval said. “While Nevada has made tremendous strides in behavioral health services, we realize more work needs to be done. I believe that it is through partnerships like this that we can continue to reach those who need these services in our community the most.”
As the community’s only not-for-profit healthcare system, philanthropic support and partnerships are vital to providing and expanding critical services in our region. Renown Health Foundation works with community partners to raise funds and pair donor support with our community’s most vital needs, providing care that might not exist otherwise. Generous donations like this one from the Mathewsons catalyze Renown’s work and create meaningful impact across the Truckee Meadows.
About Renown Health Foundation
As the community’s only not-for-profit healthcare system, philanthropic support and partnership are vital to both providing and expanding needed services in the region to keep care close to home. Renown Health Foundation raises funds to purchase state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, help patients with medical and transportation costs, conduct research, offer community health programs and provide educational training for healthcare professionals. All gifts to Renown Health Foundation are meaningful and provide important support to the community and those in need of care. To learn more, visit

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