Untreated: What Stops Intervention?

Danielle Nordeen, right, holds her seven-year-old son's hand in a park near their Grand Junction, Colo., home. (Photo by Joe Mahoney/Rocky Mountain PBS I-News)

A shortage of treatment options for people with mental illnesses means waiting months to see a psychiatrist, or driving hundreds of miles for a psychiatric bed. Police and emergency rooms bear the brunt of a splintered system that juggles crises, but falls short on treatment. Continue Reading →

Jails, ERs bearing brunt of mental health funding decline

An ambulance arrives at Denver Health's emergency department on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013, where the director say the unit is seeing an unprecedented number of people landing in the emergency room with underlying mental illnesses. (Joe Mahoney/I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS)

They’re victims of car accidents, they’ve been shot, or they threatened their parents. They have overdosed on cocaine, swallowed too many pills or passed out drunk. On an average Friday or Saturday night, they can make up about half of the sick, injured and wounded crowding the rooms and hallways of the emergency department at Denver Health. And there’s one trait these patients have in common, says Dr. Chris Colwell, director of the department. Had they received needed prior treatment, they might not be there at all. Continue Reading →