Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Surprising News: More Mentally Ill in Jails than in Hospitals!
This week JLARC released a draft report documenting the extent of the problem of Virginia's chronic underfunding of mental health services: back in 1936, there was one person with mental illness in jail for every six in state mental hospitals; in 2005, there were five people in jail for every two in a hospital. That's progress for ya! If you don't want to read the whole report, read the R T-D article about it. The report shows a precipitous decline in the availability of beds in mental health facilities over the past 20 years.

Luckily for us, Charlottesville has created a Crisis Intervention Team that's supposed to help police identify people in a MH crisis and divert them from jail to a more appropriate setting. This is still in its early stages and I can't say that I've seen any folks benefiting from it yet--all my clients with MH problems seem to land over at the jail. But, maybe the police who have been trained are more sensitive now?


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