Our Neglect Of The Mentally Ill

The Dish

Mental Health Services

Austin Gus Deeds was unable to get the help he needed:

The day before he apparently stabbed his father at the family’s home in rural Bath County, the son of Virginia state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds underwent a psychiatric evaluation but was not admitted to a hospital, because no bed was available. Deeds was listed in fair condition late Tuesday after his son, Austin, stabbed him in the face and chest, then shot himself in what investigators suspect was an attempted murder and suicide.

Suzy Khimm puts this tragedy in context:

Across the country, the number of psychiatric beds has been steadily declining as hospitals moved away from institutionalizing patients and budget cuts have taken hold. The number of hospital beds in freestanding psychiatric hospitals has dropped 13% between 2002 and 2011, according to the American Hospital Association.

But the need hasn’t declined as quickly, and there haven’t been adequate alternatives to pick up the slack…

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