Mental Health Crisis in Sacramento 081510
No, it isn’t the legislature this time, it’s the result of dwindling funds.
Reports from Sacramento describe near Bedlam scenes in Emergency Rooms throughout the county as patients who would have been seen by area mental health providers are showing up for care.
The impact on patients and hospitals is acute. E.R.s are packed with the type of intervention they aren’t trained to provide. Many (if not most) patients have no insurance and if they don’t qualify for some kind of assistance, the hospital is left with the bill. Patients suffer because they only receive crisis care, often with a medication, but no follow up treatment to reduce the likelihood of more crisis events. Other patients suffer because the physical emergencies they have wait behind emotional and mental emergencies. Further, it isn’t uncommon for a mental health emergency to be presented not by ambulance, but by a cop, who must wait with the patient until they are seen, straining public safety even further.
This effect might well be seen here, in Sierra County. Funding cuts might reduce County Mental Health’s ability to provide adequate crisis and on-going care to those who need it.
The crisis in Sacramento involved thousands of people, but one Sierra County resident carries the value of 466 people in Sacto county. It is estimated there are 1,400 MH crisis visits to Sacramento hospitals every month. If there are 1400 people in Sacto ERs for mental issues, we should expect three to four here. If we aren’t having that many it’s likely because people are getting proper care through the County.
There is a public discussion of Health and Human Services in the county on September 15th. Part of that discussion should be about how the county will cope if MH funds disappear.