WASHINGTON, March 26, 2014 -- Mary Giliberti, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offered the following statement in conjunction with a House of Representatives oversight hearing titled "Where Have All the Patients Gone? Examining the Psychiatric Bed Shortage."
"Hospital beds for individuals with mental illness who experience acute crisis are a necessary element for America's mental health care system, but there are not enough beds. Supply does not meet demand. It is not just patients who are in crisis; it is the system as well.
There is also a double whammy.
Other mental health services are being starved. Community services that can provide cheaper, incremental alternatives and prevent acute crises and hospitalizations are under-funded or non-existent.
These are services that are cost-effective. They help avoid the cost-shifting that occurs when unmet needs from the mental health care system are imposed on hospital emergency rooms, schools and law enforcement. They include:
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
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