Beds or Cells?

The Story

The deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill that began in the 1950s continues today across New York State. Psychiatric hospitals continue to shrink the number of beds available to people with long-term serious mental illness, and general hospitals are eliminating or reducing the capacity of their psychiatric units. Community solutions for treating the mentally ill sound good in theory, but in practice, too many sick people fall through the cracks of the system, failing to get the treatment they need.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Beds: In the last five years, the number of adult inpatient psychiatric beds in New York State has shrunk by 8.9%. Read more.

  2. EDP: Over that same period, the number of calls to the NYPD regarding “emotionally disturbed persons” has increased by about 45%. Read more.

  3. Cells: With a shortage of treatment options, the mentally ill increasingly wind up in the city’s jails. Read more.

“We continue to treat people with mental illness almost exactly as we did before electricity was invented, before women had the right to vote, and before the abolition of slavery.”

Alisa Roth

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

“The agency spends money on the “worried well,” not the truly sick.”

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