Psych patients move into supportive housing

    Under an agreement struck last week, New Jersey will spend five million dollars this year to discharge patients who are ready into community settings.

    Many people with mental illness in New Jersey’s state psychiatric hospitals are headed to live in less restrictive settings. Under an agreement struck last week, New Jersey will spend five million dollars this year to discharge patients who are ready into community settings. The deal settles a lawsuit filed by a New Jersey advocacy group that claimed the state was illegally confining some patients.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090731lfpsych.mp3]

    The deal calls for almost 300 people from New Jersey psychiatric hospitals to be discharged into supportive housing. State officials say the patients had been kept in institutions because of a lack of supportive housing in the community – including group and family homes where patients can continue to receive medical care.

    Jonathan Poag of the New Jersey Department of Human Services says patients will get to live in the least restrictive setting that suits their needs.

    Poag: The New Jersey Division of Mental Health Services will be creating 1,065 new community housing and support opportunities for the next 5 years – allowing consumers who are in our state hospitals opportunities to return to their home communities.

    Experts say the government needs to invest more money so people who need mental health services don’t deteriorate and end up in hospitals, homeless, or in jail.

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