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Mental Health Emergencies Get a New Type of Hospital ER

Sept. 26, 2022, 10:00 AM

With mental health treatment in short supply, Americans experiencing a psychiatric crisis frequently land in a hospital emergency room—brought in by the police or loved ones—and usually stay there until they can be safely discharged or transferred. That means patients can spend hours or even days stuck on a gurney until a spot opens in a psych ward, the only other setting deemed appropriate.

The approach rarely offers any real treatment for mental health conditions, and it ties up scarce ER beds. That’s spurred some hospitals to try a new idea: mental health crisis units designed to treat people quickly ...