Cuts in Mental Health Services Increase Psychiatric Emergencies

Countywide reductions in psychiatric services — both inpatient and outpatient — led to more than triple the number of emergency psychiatric consults and 55% increases in lengths of stay for psychiatric patients in the emergency department. The before and after study of the impact of decreasing county mental health services was published online  in Annals of Emergency Medicine (‘Impact of Decreasing County Mental Health Services on the Emergency Medicine’).

After Sacramento County in California decreased its inpatient psychiatric beds from 100 to 50 and closed its outpatient unit, the average number of daily psychiatry consults in the emergency department increased from 1.3 to 4.4. 

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