NAMI has been tracking the number of involuntary holds at the Cottage Hospital ER since last October.

As noted in the co-response unit article, “the number of 5150 holds referred to the Cottage ER between last March and October was up 58 percent from the year before.” And, just this past month (March) the number of holds increased to 101, from 81 the month before. The number of holds that expire without bed placement has also increased, as has the wait time for a bed, when someone is able to secure one.

We are hearing more often from family members about lack of access to mental-health care at all levels. The success of our county’s considerable investment in mental-health diversion from the jail is ultimately dependent upon the treatment those diverted are able to secure.

This is a difficult and challenging time for all of us. We have to work together to solve our mental health treatment crisis. The first step is to acknowledge the problem. Then, we can work together to solve it.

Lynne Gibbs is chair of the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) S.B. County Public Policy Committee.


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