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Sleeping in Vermont Dumpster Shows Psychiatric Cuts’ Cost – Bloomberg

Sleeping In Vermont Dumpster Shows Psychiatric Cuts’ Cost

via Sleeping in Vermont Dumpster Shows Psychiatric Cuts’ Cost – Bloomberg.

Katherine Gluck blurts out to the judge, “I’m guilty.”

Gluck, 47, is charged on this March morning with threatening her former husband with a hammer. Police who arrested her in Burlington, Vermont, know those tired eyes and stringy blond hair. In December, Gluck was charged but not jailed or hospitalized after she slammed a dead raccoon against the front door of City Hall. Her family urged her to get help for her bipolar disorder, which usually involves getting back on medication. She refused.

June 4 (Bloomberg) — Hurricane Irene wiped out the last state-operated psychiatric beds in Vermont nine months ago. As the only U.S. state with no government-operated psychiatric beds, Vermont’s experience reflects a growing realization among mental-health experts and advocates that the decades-long trend toward outpatient care has reached its limit and public outcry against the latest round of cuts is beginning to change the game. Bloomberg’s Tom Moroney reports. (Source: Bloomberg)

Now, court-appointed lawyer Sarah Reed hopes Judge Thomas Devine will send Gluck to a hospital. The odds aren’t good. Hurricane Irene wiped out the last state-operated psychiatric beds in Vermont nine months ago.

Since then, private-hospital emergency rooms have been backed up with mentally ill patients — some handcuffed to ER beds for as long as two days. Dozens of people are turned away each month without being admitted, and calls to Burlington police about mental-health issues increased 32 percent over the prior year.

As the only U.S. state with no government-operated psychiatric beds, Vermont’s experience reflects a growing realization among mental-health experts and advocates that the decades-long trend toward outpatient care has reached its limit — and public outcry against the latest round of cuts is beginning to change the game….

June 18, 2012 - Posted by | Public Health | , , ,

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