Beds scarce for mental patients

Number of beds for mental-health purposes dwindles over past 15 years

The decreasing number of hospital beds in California reserved for mental-health patients has prevented some individuals from receiving treatment.

Statewide, about 4,000 hospital beds dedicated to mental-health emergencies have been removed over the past 15 years as part of a reform movement to shift mental-health treatment to community-based settings, according to California Healthline. The movement has moved mental-health funding away from inpatient facilities and directed it toward outpatient treatment; as a result, some rural counties have been left with no facilities for inpatient mental-health services.

However, help appears to be on the way. Senate Bill 82, which goes into effect in 2014, has earmarked $206 million for 2,000 additional crisis-stabilization beds, 600 new triage workers and mobile-response teams.