In 2010, the slumping state budget forced the Missouri Department of Mental Health to close the emergency room and 50 short-term beds at the Metropolitan Psychiatric Center.
The move saved $16 million. But it also forced those in need of immediate mental health treatment into local hospitals, which are not designed for those in crisis.
With the help of the area’s two largest hospital systems and some state support, there are now 16 beds available for patients with psychiatric needs who have already been screened at other hospital emergency rooms. Beginning this fall, patients needing urgent mental health care should be able to go straight to the new Psychiatric Stabilization Center.
The PSC is a temporary fix - but its creators are also hoping it helps shift the treatment paradigm.