News Headlines Article

Bottleneck punishes mental health patients
San Diego Union-Tribune

As a psychiatrist serving the community of Fallbrook for 30 years, I have often had to direct my patients in crisis to their nearest emergency room for lifesaving care — sometimes voluntarily, and sometimes with the assistance of local law enforcement and paramedics.

Indeed, until its closure in 2014, these patients often arrived at Fallbrook Hospital, where I assisted emergency physicians as a consulting psychiatrist. It has become painfully clear to me that our system for caring for individuals with an acute mental health crisis is badly broken. Instead of prompt and compassionate attention, these patients are often trapped for days in the emergency room, waiting for referral to the specialized care they need.