July 7, 2016
In the study “No Room at the Inn,” the U.S. non-profit organization Treatment Advocacy Center details the decline of the number of psychiatric beds available in state-run hospitals from 2005 to 2010, tracing this drop to a larger 50-year trend. Currently, about 11 such beds are available per 100,000 people, a statistic far below that of other developed countries and far below estimates of what is necessary for adequate psychiatric care. In addition, the study describes how nearly half of these beds are filled by the criminal justice system, a proportion that continues to increase. Many doctors and national medical organizations have highlighted the dangers of such shortages for years, and this recent study proposes several potential solutions. Many hope that a bill to reform mental health care recently passed by the House of Representatives will address these shortages and generally improve mental health care in the U.S.