Crisis Bed Registries to Assist People with Urgent Mental Health Needs

February 7, 2019

Posted on SAMHSA's Newsroom/Press-Announcements webpage on Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) are working to create a registry of crisis intervention beds for people with serious mental illness (SMI) in need.  A shortage of inpatient beds and lack of knowledge of bed availability is a major barrier to adequate care for people with SMI.

Twenty-three states are participating in this new initiative funded by SAMHSA to establish and/or expand comprehensive, psychiatric crisis bed registry programs.

“All too often individuals experiencing a psychiatric crisis have long delays in obtaining appropriate services. These delays result in serious consequences, including long waits at home, in emergency departments, or in jails for necessary services to become available.  Reducing these delays is a top priority for SAMHSA,” said Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, MD, PhD. 

“We are appreciative of Dr. McCance-Katz and SAMHSA for making this opportunity available for states to improve their crisis systems.  The registry will help move individuals quicker to needed crisis services,” said Brian M. Hepburn, M.D., Executive Director, NASMHPD.

The state driven psychiatric bed registries will be used by emergency departments, psychiatrists and other physicians, and clinicians to quickly find available beds so people in need can gain access treatment that is urgently needed.  One important component to addressing the needs of people living with SMI and supporting their recovery is to assure that critically important, safe, and intensive care in the least-restrictive setting is accessible when needed.

Each of the participating states received $150,000 to take this important step towards reducing the wait time for mental health crisis intervention beds.

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