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Decline in Mental Health Organizations

Based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Center for Health Statistics, this infographic takes a look at the declining resources available for mental health care in America.

Since a peak in the 90s, the number of inpatient hospital beds and mental health organizations equipped to deal with those in crisis has been dwindling, as the graphs indicate.

Lack of reasonable reimbursement by Medicare, refusal by insurance companies to pay for longer stays, and cutting in mental health expenditure for every aspect of treatment have combined to create a shortage of resources, leaving people desperate. Often jails and prisons have picked up the slack in the housing of the mentally ill, now that the psychiatric beds are unavailable.

The numbers speak for themselves. In 2006, 80% of states had a shortage of psychiatric beds in general hospitals. The overall number of psychiatric beds declined from 267,613 in 1986 to 239,044 in 2008. The Department of Veterans Affairs medical center organizations dedicated to mental health dropped by nearly 3000 from 1990 to 2008.

Unless something is done to reverse the trend, care for all too many of those in mental health crisis simply won’t be available.

Infographic Source: Rhona Finkel