Sid and Elizabeth’s adorable children.
“We’re working on the paternal side now, but that’s a little more difficult since they live in India” he says, laughing.
Part of loving the community you call home is trying to make it a better place. Dr. Khurana describes his work as both “frustrating and exciting.” Frustrating because he sees how far there is to go to bring the overall quality of Las Vegas’s mental health care to a higher level, yet exciting because he sees both huge potential and the impact of the improvements he’s helping to bring about.
“There’s nothing more gratifying than helping an at-risk child change trajectories and excel in school and life, rather than falling through the cracks,” he says.
About 80% of Khurana’s patients are children and adolescents and 20% are adults. Dr. Khurana utilizes the bio-psychosocial model of psychiatric disorders and applies elements of the cognitive behavioral approach during his medication management visits.
His focus on children is not by accident. “Despite the size of Las Vegas, there are only 12 child & adolescent psychiatrists here, which is a tiny fraction of what’s needed. Las Vegas is a veritable desert for mental health professionals, and we’re actively working to change that.”
Khurana feels he has a calling to help children. “I subscribe to the notion that ‘a stitch in time saves nine;’ basically, if we can treat a child early in life, we not only stop a potential cycle of harm that impacts countless others, but we can help that child grow into a healthy, productive adult. The more children we can provide with quality mental health care in Nevada today, the less problems and costs we’ll have 5 or 10 or 20 years down the road.”
Even though he lives and works in Las Vegas, Khurana is also able to help children living in underserved rural communities through telemedicine. He notes an interesting pattern between rural and urban Nevada:
“Las Vegas is more of a transient city where people are often socially isolated from their families who live elsewhere. Relative to rural Nevada, there’s less extended familial support to fill the gap for the child when the parent is in trouble, which leaves these children even more vulnerable.”
As you might imagine, effectively treating the resulting mental health issues that result from children living in such an environment is not a simple task, nor is it one that Dr. Khurana takes lightly.
Healthy Minds is unique in that it utilizes a team-based approach while also trying to treat the family as a whole unit. Psychiatrists like Dr. Khurana work in concert with psychologists, substance use disorder specialists, therapists, and healthy home experts to try to holistically address the upstream problems, rather than simply subscribing medications that mask downstream symptoms.
In addition to treating patients and training staff at Healthy Minds, Khurana is also intent on increasing the number of mental health professionals who practice in Nevada. Along with Healthy Minds’ Dr. Lisa Durette, Dr. Khurana has worked diligently to develop UNLV School of Medicine’s Child & Adolescent Psychiatry residency program, which will help attract, train, and retain mental health professionals who would otherwise go elsewhere.
Are You Getting Good Mental Health Care? Advice From Dr. Sid Khurana…
When asked what message he’d like someone in Las Vegas who’s suffering from a mental health problem to know, Khurana pauses thoughtfully. “I’d like them to know what good mental health care looks like so they can choose doctors and care teams wisely.”
How does a patient know whether they’re getting good mental health care? That might seem like a tall task for a non-expert, but Khurana thinks it’s fairly straightforward.
“Don’t go to a psychiatrist who’s going to give you medication after two minutes. Good care is a blend of quantity and quality. You should feel like you’ve had ample time to talk about the problems you’re experiencing. You should feel supported and that you have buy-in to your treatment plan. And your treatment plan is made better when there are multiple specialists involved in crafting it as a team, which is one of the truly unique things we do at Healthy Minds that leads to our better patient outcomes.”
Dr. Sid Khurana’s describes two personal goal he has for himself: first, to raise a good family and provide a good life for them, and secondly to serve the Las Vegas community, his home, to the best of his abilities for as long as he can.
At Healthy Minds, we’re incredibly grateful to have Dr. Khurana on our team and will continue to work with him to make Las Vegas a better, healthier community for everyone, one patient at a time.