Community mental health groups worry about privatization

 

It’s no secret that the number of beds available for mental health care are coming up short.

"The need is great. Mental health problems are increasing in number," said Dr. Chris Archangeli, pediatric psychiatrist with Central Michigan University Health.

And, for those trying to find a psychiatric bed for their loved one; it’s getting harder.

"The beds are so tight, somebody from Niles who's closer to Pine Rest in Grand Rapids would come all the way to Saginaw if they don't have beds," said Archangeli. “There's a shortage nationally. This isn't a problem that's just in Saginaw or just in Michigan."

Archangeli said part of the reason these shortages exist is a greater need, but also, it can be due to a lack of options.

"It can become a bottleneck where the inpatient unit is seen as the only solution,” he said adding, "These aren't problems that get better in 3 to 5 days. The inpatient beds are just there to give acute treatment and ensure safety and get people on the right track."

Archangeli said one solution to the problem is the community, as a whole, focusing more on mental health and providing resources.

"I think it's going to take everybody and it's going to take prioritizing this to people in our community," he said.

If you or somebody you know is in desperate need of a psychiatric bed, but they’re filled up, Archangeli said the best place to go is the emergency room.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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