Patients in need of mental and behavioral health care services fill Pennsylvania emergency rooms and hospitals do not send them.
HARRISBURG, Pa. -Pandemic damage to mental health brings new attention to the lack of treatment options. Across the state and beyond there is a mental health crisis.
Patients in need of ethical health care services fill Pennsylvania emergency rooms and hospitals do not send them.
“It’s sad. People stay in the emergency room because there is no psychological help, ”said Heather Tyler, Vice President of State Legislative Advocacy for the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania.
Doctors across the state have seen a sharp increase in the number of people in need of emergency-level services, crisis-level services and post-hospital care.
However, there is a severe shortage of mental health care providers and treatment programs in the Commonwealth. The waiting time to be admitted to a facility is endless for some families.
“The waiting list could be 1,000 people in length,” Tyler added. “What has happened is that as the crisis has intensified, and these are the same things we all live with — inflation, higher wages, supply chain issues – services are getting harder to provide. The provinces are getting more and more difficult. who are stressed and unable to provide community-based supports or home-based supports or crisis support.
FOX43 Reveals that patients remain in emergency departments for days, sometimes weeks, while doctors frantically search for treatment options. Doctors at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health must refer patients to facilities as far as Philadelphia for treatment.
Tyler said a Pennsylvania doctor tried to call 400 treatment facilities to find the right placement for a child in need of mental health services.
With no increase in state funding in more than a decade, doctors are watching the state’s mental health care system collapse before their eyes.
“We really need to do a better job as a system to create more opportunities for individuals with moral health to be able to receive care at a less restrictive level,” he said. Tracey Lavallias, Executive Director of Behavioral Health at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health.
In February 2021, 39.8% of Pennsylvania adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression and 25.7% did not get the necessary counseling or therapy, according to data from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Recent HAP research reveals that 1 in 6 children between the ages of 6 and 17 have experienced a mental health disorder and yet 47 percent of adults with mental illness have been treated.
Doctors are concerned about the dangers to people themselves and others if they are in the midst of a crisis and cannot get the help they need.
“As part of the disease, people may feel that they do not want to continue living or may do something that is harmful to themselves or may be out of control of their behavior and unintentionally hurt others, “according to Dr. Erika Saunders, who works in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Penn State Health.
Several stakeholders, including hospitals, have called on lawmakers to increase state funding for the county’s mental health programs by $ 28 million dollars, with an additional $ 13 million in the county’s mental health fund to assist emergency departments.
There is also a push to pass House Bill 1644, which creates complex care transfer teams to help if inpatient, psychiatric residential treatment, or other settings are unable to discharge patients.
“Now is the time for policymakers to invest more in counties and provide them with mental health line funding to provide the programs that all families in Pennsylvania need,” Tyler said.
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