Inspector General Study on Access to Psychiatric Care

Nov 20, 2013

Some in the mental health field say it is not uncommon for a person suffering from mental illness to be turned away from treatment.  

National Alliance for Mental Illness Virginia Director Mira Signer says it happens more often than people think. The state Inspector General found that during a three-month case study alone, 72 Virginians who should have been detained were denied needed care.

And about 10% of the thousands of Virginians with severe mental illness will require hospitalization each year.  Signer says loved ones should look for warning signs to help determine if the person is a threat to themselves or others and call 9-11 and say that someone is having a mental health crisis.

Signer says the length of stay for people who are admitted is also getting shorter in private hospitals for various reasons, including insurance limitations. She says that creates a problem since in just a brief time, the patient must get assessed and prescribed treatment.