It is not surprising that Virginia’s psychiatric-bed registry is failing [“Va.’s psychiatric-bed list criticized,” Metro, July 23]. Psychiatric-bed and supported-housing registries regularly fail because those who operate the beds and housing units do not enter open slots in the registry. They prefer to save the openings for their own clientele.
But even if empty beds were entered in the registry, it would not solve the problem. Virginia is more than 2,000 beds short for the seriously ill; nationwide, the shortage is about 100,000, according to a report by the Treatment Advocacy Center. The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), takes steps to address the shortage of psychiatric beds for the most seriously ill. The problem for these people is not a shortage of registries, it’s a shortage of beds.
D.J. Jaffe, New York
The writer is executive director of the Mental Illness Policy Org.