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Beyond Beds: Report on Lack of Available Care

Beyond Beds

The Vital Role of a Full Continuum of Psychiatric Care: A Joint Report with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors

Beyond Beds is a joint report with the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors and represents the introductory paper in a 10-part series on the inpatient psychiatric treatment capacity in the United States.

See the full report here.

Summary

Nearly 10 million individuals in the United States are estimated to live with a diagnosable psychiatric condition sufficiently serious to impair their personal, social and economic functioning. Hardly a day goes by without a study, headline, court case or legislative action calling for reform of the mental health system to better serve this population. Often, these calls to action end in two words: “More beds.”

What is largely missing from the outcry are answers to broader questions like,

  • What do we mean by “beds”? More precisely defined, what types of beds are needed: acute, transitional, rehabilitative, long-term or other?
  • Are there differences in the needs of different age groups–youth, adults, older persons–and diagnoses that need to be reflected in the bed composition?
  • What are the evidence-based outpatient practices that would reduce bed demand by reducing the likelihood of crisis developing or by diverting individuals in crisis to appropriate settings outside of hospitals?

Beyond Beds: The Vital Role of a Full Continuum of Psychiatric Care addresses these questions and offers 10 public policy recommendations for reducing the human and economic costs associated with severe mental illness by building and invigorating a robust, interconnected, evidence-based system of care that goes beyond beds. Each recommendation is drawn from data and observation and is illustrated by the story of Taylor, a representative young adult whose journey toward mental health recovery illustrates both the failings and the potential of the current continuum of psychiatric care. See the full report here.

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