For obvious reasons, the health system in New Orleans is under reconstruction, and still hasn't reached pre-Katrina service levels. While things are bad enough for the medically ill, the mentally ill are facing, if anything, an even worse crisis. While mental health cases shot up in the wake of Katrina, climbing to an estimated 11.3 percent of the population, the city's ability to treat them has been decimated. Many patients can't get their psychiatric drugs, and it's even worse for the seriously mentally ill. In the past, police officers were able to bring disruptive mentally ill patients to the city's Charity Hospital around the clock. But Charity Hospital is one of the nine facilities that still hasn't reopened after the storm. Now, with nowhere to bring disturbed patients, some police officers are taking these troubled patients to jail.
For more information on the city's mental health crisis:
- read this article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
ALSO: A Florida state mental health official has admitted that her agency ignored a judge's order to move mentally-ill prison inmates into state hospitals within 15 days. Article