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Tackling The Mental Health Crisis In Emergency Departments: Look Upstream For Solutions

Tackling The Mental Health Crisis In Emergency Departments: Look Upstream For Solutions

Mara Laderman, Amrita Dasgupta, Robin Henderson, Arpan Waghray

The United States is in the middle of a well-documented mental health crisis. In 2015, 127,500 Americans died from drug or alcohol-related causes or suicide. This translates into 350 deaths per day, and one person dying of a preventable cause every four minutes. This crisis, which continues to worsen, is hitting emergency departments (EDs) particularly hard. This is due, in part, to the fact that EDs are one of the last remaining safety nets in the community. One in eight visits to the ED is related to a mental health or substance abuse issue, a number that has been increasing each year for the past decade. And yet, EDs remain poorly equipped to address these individuals’ needs because of a variety of issues, including regulations, policies, training, culture, stigma, and the lack of integration and connectivity to other settings in the community.
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