(July 24, 2012) Citing new data from the Treatment Advocacy Center, the Detroit Free Press last weekend denounced Michigan's significant drop in the number of state psychiatric beds, saying cuts have cost the state dearly.
“Michigan has become one of the worst of the worst” in the United States after closing three-quarters of its state hospitals, according to “Michigan's awful gaps in mental health care” (July 21).
The editorial cited data published last week in our new study, “No Room at the Inn: Trends and Consequences of Closing Public Psychiatric Hospitals.” The study found that Michigan eliminated 47% of its state hospital beds between 2005 and 2010. According to the newspaper, prisons in Michigan now house significant numbers of people in need of treatment psychiatric treatment, while tens of thousands of others with mental illness live on the streets – untreated. Meanwhile, police officers serve as front line mental health workers.
The editors offered a solution: Freeze hospital closures and strengthen the mental health system, providing treatment to those in need.
We agree. And, sadly, Michigan is not the only state in desperate need of a moratorium on hospital bed closures. Thirteen states closed 25% or more of their hospital beds from 2005-2010; four closed close to 50%, our research found.
To see where your state ranks and equip yourself to fight hospital closures that endanger patients and public safety:
- Visit our "No Room at the Inn" website or download a copy of the report.
- Consult Advocacy Tools for ideas and tips for alerting your community to the alarming lack of needed beds in your state and the consequences and engaging your elected officials to do something about it.