The Treatment Advocacy Center today released a grim new study showing the number of state hospital beds in America has plummeted to 1850 levels, producing profound impacts on patients, law enforcement, jails, hospitals and public safety.
“No Room at the Inn: Trends and Consequences of Closing Public Psychiatric Hospitals 2005-2010” contains the most up-to-date bed numbers available, which are reported nationally and by state. Among the findings:
- The number of state psychiatric beds decreased by 14% from 2005 to 2010, falling to 43,318 beds in the United States, less than 5% of the beds available in 1955, the peak year of psychiatric hospitalization.
- The per capita bed population nationwide fell to 14.1 beds per 100,000 people – a level virtually identical to the 14 beds per 100,000 population that existed in 1850. By way of comparison, after decades of deinstitutionalization, England in 2008 provided 63.2 beds per 100,000.
- Thirteen states closed 25% or more of their total state hospital beds from 2005-2010. Of those, two states – New Mexico and Minnesota – closed more than 50% of their beds.
- Ten states increased their total hospital beds but continued to provide less than half the number of beds considered necessary to provide minimally adequate treatment.
- Statistical relationships between state-hospital funding and some forms of violence were found.
The Treatment Advocacy Center is calling for a a moratorium on further public hospital bed closures until a sufficient number of psychiatric beds for acutely and/or chronically ill individuals is available, either in state hospitals or community facilities.
To read the entire study and find out what’s happening to hospital beds in your state, visit our new mini-website, TACReports.org/bedstudy, created thanks to a grant from the Torrey Action Fund.