There can be little doubt that the country is in a mental health care crisis. There is little in the way of cohesive civic policy at the national level, and even many states and local municipalities struggle to formulate plans on how to deal with citizens that suffer from psychological afflictions. As a result, cases of ill mental health are dealt with on a case by case basis with a very reactive approach to situations that could have otherwise been avoided. This puts an incredible strain on public resources and costs the community money, energy, and time.
Unfortunately, a Hoboken NJ psychiatrist said the burden of dealing with such situations often falls on the shoulders of first responders. These include law enforcement patrol officers, firemen, and emergency medical technicians. In drastic cases, SWAT teams, detectives, and negotiators wind up involved. Even situations that are only a case of a person harming only themselves, the standard response is to put them in an ER overnight until they can be released or transferred to a psychiatric facility. Emergency rooms are simply not usually equipped to handle such patients very well, as hospitals are intended for those who are physically ill, not psychologically.
The real tragedy in all of this is that those who are never going to harm themselves or others never wind up getting professional help, and those that might be hurtful to themselves or others only get a helping hand after an incident has occurred. In addition to taxing public resources as already listed out, this is also a drain on the families, victims, and insurance plans of all those involved.
Innovative psychiatric solutions are going to be necessary if this is all going to turn around. Something has to be done to fight off the societal stigma surrounding mental health, but there also need to be affordable yet effective options for citizens to turn to if they need help. Given the overwhelming demand for psychiatric services combined with the shortage of trained and qualified psychiatrists, innovation is truly going to be necessary in figuring out how to get limited personnel to delivery the needed help to the masses that need it.
Fortunately, a number of high profile incidents around the country have created a silver lining in some areas. While national or federal level consensus is highly unlikely in a polarized political arena, many local governments and insurers are working on creating the innovative psychiatric solutions that are necessary to change things.