Psychiatric Warehousing

Last night I watched two and a half hours of news (something unheard of for me) just to see one story they kept dangling in front of my face about psychiatric warehousing.

Seattle local channel Komo 4 News ran a story about how there aren’t enough psychiatric inpatient hospital beds in the city for all of the patients that need them, with the result being that psychiatric patients are being housed on regular floors of hospitals (and thus are “warehoused”).

The story called this a “public health crisis”.

I was concerned for a minute when the story suddenly turned and nurses began speaking out about having been attacked by psychotic patients in the hospital who weren’t in the proper psychiatric facilities, but the story seemed to make a point that this warehousing of patients is not only unsafe for hospital staff and patients, but also means that people aren’t receiving the psychiatric care that they need.

Last year, they claimed 3000 people were committed in the state, and of those 2000 (2/3) had to wait for a bed in a psychiatric facility.

Personally, I’m beginning to feel very lucky. Around this time in 2011 I had a psychiatric inpatient hospitalization, and I managed to get a bed the same day (which was something like a miracle). I did, however, have the receptionist at the hospital on the phone for four hours for me in order to lock down a bed.

A quick tip? I’ve been told you are much more likely to get a bed for a psychiatric inpatient hospitalization if you are looking for one on a Friday. Apparently that is when the most discharges happen -right before the weekend.

Anyway, the story was extremely sensationalized but I feel glad that someone is trying to bring attention to how wretched it is in Seattle to try and receive psychiatric treatment.

For the whole story and a video, check it out here.

One response to “Psychiatric Warehousing

  1. Thanks so much for posting this. As you know, I moved across the pond form Seattle, and have been contemplating moving back there again. Of course, where we land will depend on whether or not there’s good mental healthcare available. After hearing the stats KOMO uncovered, I’m having severe second thoughts. Back in 2010 my then-psychiatrist found a bed for me in two facilities. But, I had outstanding insurance (that I will never see again). What is going on in Seattle? It seems to be getting worse every year. Hope you’re doing better.

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