Some children with mental illness are spending days in hospital emergency departments
“Long ER waits persist for children in mental health crises”
The Boston Globe looks at the issue of psychiatric boarding.
When a child’s mental health issues reach a crisis level that requires inpatient care, they need prompt, safe placement in a mental health treatment center. Instead, children are often stuck in emergency rooms, where staff do not have the resources or expertise to treat them, while they wait for a spot to open up in a mental health facility. Kids can wait for days, sometimes even weeks, at a time, just to get access to proper treatment. This practice, called “boarding,” significantly delays care and is both unsafe and a waste of valuable resources.
MSPCC is proud of our work with the Children’s Mental Health Campaign (CMHC) researching the factors that contribute to pediatric psychiatric boarding and advocating for solutions. Our efforts have led to the development of a specialty inpatient unit to treat youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders who are in psychiatric crisis, the first of which will open later this year. Training is being provided for emergency department personnel to lessen the trauma of the boarding experience for all families but especially the families of color who are disproportionately impacted.