Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Beds

From the November 19, 2013 New York Daily News:
After allegedly attacking his father, the 24-year-old reportedly shot himself. He died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police confirmed that early indications are that Gus Deeds attacked his father before shooting himself, Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said. 
Law enforcement sources are investigating what led to the violence. Just a day earlier, Gus Deeds had been evaluated under an emergency custody order for mental health issues, ...
Health officials said that no psychiatric bed was available for Deeds and so he was released.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/virginia-state-senator-creigh-deeds-critical-condition-stabbing-article-1.1521697#ixzz2l8IOySv
I have mentioned before the work by UC Berkeley Steven Segal concerning murder and mental illness.  He found that 20% of the state to state variation in murder rates could be explained by availability of psychiatric beds.  Even in states with relatively sensible involuntary commitment laws (like Virginia and Idaho), a lack of beds is very important.

The November 19, 2013 Washington Post has more details, and more importantly, details on the problems of a shortage of psychiatric beds.


  1. That statistic was the most fascinating of your talk at DU last month.

  2. Trade-offs, trade-offs. If a country wants to spend 700bil a year on military means that are mostly used to kill and maim someone somewhere, then there's not much money left for hospital beds.

    But, but... al Qaeda!!!

  3. 1. Psychiatric hospitals are state budget items, not federal.

    2. This problem was there throughout the 1990s, when we were not fighting a war of any sort.