N.J. surveys its mental health facilities

    New Jersey is taking stock of its mental health facilities–and what the state might need in the future. As Maiken Scott reports from WHYY’s Behavioral Health desk, the legislature has approved a bill creating a task force to do that job.

    New Jersey is taking stock of its mental health facilities–and what the state might need in the future. As Maiken Scott reports from WHYY’s Behavioral Health desk, the legislature has approved a bill creating a task force to do that job.

    The task force will evaluate the current and long-term needs for inpatient psychiatric beds, and assess the availability of services in communities. It will also compare cost of care in different state psychiatric hospitals.

    The bill creating the task force comes on the heels of proposals to close the only geriatric psychiatric facility in New Jersey.

    Judy Remington of the New Jersey Association of Mental Health and addiction agencies says carefully evaluating the need first is a good move. She says when psychiatric institutions are closed too quickly, patient care suffers:

    In those instances you might end up with individuals having to be re-hospitalized, entering into crisis and in emergency rooms, filling up hospital beds, and unable to access the services that they need

    The bill creating the task force is now awaiting Governor Christie’s signature.

    The task force will have members from state agencies, mental health organizations, and family members of people with mental illnesses.

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