BRIDGETON, August 24, 2020 – It’s been said that nobody drops off a casserole when somebody in your family suffers a setback from mental illness.
Compared to other diseases, stigma is partly to blame. So is the shortage of viable treatment options for behavioral health patients.
Between 1990 and 2010, the region lost 42% of its acute care beds for psychiatric patients, or 817 beds, according to the Behavioral Health Network of Greater St. Louis. That doesn’t include the big hit in 2010 when the state closed its Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center emergency department at 5351 Delmar Boulevard.
Since then, behavioral health patients have increasingly flocked to emergency rooms at numerous hospitals. Experts say that’s not a good fit and often results in long wait times and meager access to follow-up treatment.
Now there is some hope on the near horizon.