People With Mental Health, Drug Problems Overwhelm Maryland Hospitals

Hospital emergency rooms in Maryland are being overwhelmed with people needing treatment for mental health or substance-abuse problems.

The Baltimore Sun explored the issue after video showed workers at the University of Maryland Medical Center's Midtown Campus depositing a woman in a mental health crisis at a bus stop.

The Sun reports that most hospitals aren't equipped to treat such patients, but they usually have no other place to go.

Nearly one in four emergency visits in Maryland now involve behavioral health issues. Emergency rooms are often tasked with stabilizing mental health patients before sending them to community-based treatment.

But the number of state-run psychiatric beds has dropped nearly 80 percent since the 1980s as mental health facilities closed to deinstitutionalize care.

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