The premature demise of public child and adolescent inpatient psychiatric beds : part I: overview and current conditions

Psychiatr Q. 2006 Fall;77(3):251-71. doi: 10.1007/s11126-006-9012-0.


Current trends on the national landscape of available treatment and delivery systems for children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbance indicate a sharp decline in the availability of inpatient psychiatric services. These trends are troubling as six to nine million children and adolescents in the United States suffer from some serious emotional disturbance, and the majority in need of treatment do not receive behavioral health services. The consequences of untreated mental illness in children are grave, and the cost to society of children's mental health problems is high in both human and fiscal terms. This paper will describe national trends in behavioral health in general and specifically children's mental health, and will detail the experiences of many states to identify possible problems and pitfalls to downsizing and closing child and adolescent inpatient psychiatric beds.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Bed Occupancy / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Health Facility Closure
  • Health Services Accessibility / trends*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / trends
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mental Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Mental Health Services / supply & distribution*
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychiatric Department, Hospital / trends*
  • United States / epidemiology