A growing number of people in the St. Louis region are seeking mental health treatment in hospital emergency rooms, according to a recent report from the St. Louis and St. Louis County health departments.
The report’s authors found the rate of people seeking mental health care in emergency rooms increased more than 40% in both the city and the county between 2010 and 2016, indicating people can’t get access to long-term care for chronic issues, health officials say.
Some patients seek treatment in the emergency room because they do not have health insurance. Others go to the ER because they cannot find psychiatrists, social workers or counselors. For many, the only available option is the emergency room — not an ideal setting for mental health treatment, doctors say.