Sunday, March 4, 2007

Current State of Mental Health Care in New Orleans

There is an excellent article in this week's Gambit Weekly (a New Orleans weekly publication) entitled Psyched Out. It talks about the current state of mental health care in New Orleans, and the statistics are somewhat shocking. According to the article, there are only 22 psychiatrists in the area right now as opposed to the pre-Katrina level of 196. Throw in the massive increase for a need of psychiatrists since Katrina and what you have is a total mess. There are also only 82 psychiatric beds now open as opposed to the pre-Katrina level of 422. This article doesn't take into account the hospital I work at which currently has 200 beds, all of which are taken. The article is talking mostly about emergency room beds. Since Katrina, 6 hospitals have closed in the area leaving only 4 available for mental health emergencies. The wait in these emergency rooms is approximately 10-12 hours according to the article.

The article is not available on the Gambit website, but it should be available by tomorrow.

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