South Carolina Hospitals Still Face Critical Shortage of Mental - WSPA.com

South Carolina Hospitals Still Face Critical Shortage of Mental Health Beds

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Upstate mental health patients struggle to find inpatient care. Upstate mental health patients struggle to find inpatient care.
GREER, S.C. -

            Right now in Emergency Rooms across the Upstate as many as 20% of the patients are there for mental health treatment.  It’s not unusual for those patients to stay in Emergency Departments for 1 or 2 weeks at a time.

The privately run Carolina Center for Behavioral Health is adding 13 new inpatient beds to bring the total to 125.  Staff there said once it passes a state inspection this week, those beds should fill quickly.

In other mental health facilities, patients will still be turned away due to a shortage of beds.

“That does happen,” said Dr. Ken Rogers at Marshall Pickens Hospital.

Marshall Pickens has 46 beds.  Rogers said they could fill twice that many and because mental health patients keep filling the ER at Greenville Health System, finding beds is a statewide challenge.

“Our social workers, for example, on any given night have to scan anywhere from the coast in Charleston up through everything that's happening in Greenville just because finding a bed may not be the easiest thing to do," Rogers said.

“It has gotten worse,” said Furman professor Carmella Epright who specializes in mental health issues.

Epright said South Carolina ranks 46th in the nation for the availability of mental health beds and is able to supply only 20% of the minimum needed.

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