Since Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, mental health resources have been in short supply. Before the storm, there were 240 hospital psychiatric beds in Orleans Parish, but now there are only 30, and with so few hospital beds for the mentally ill, people in the city have been forced to take extreme measures.
There are accounts of emergency rooms turning away mentally ill patients despite the fact that doing so is against the law. Family members of the mentally ill plot ways to get their loved ones put in jail, because the parish prison has 60 adult psychiatric beds where patients can get consistent care.
Why are there are so few psychiatric options in a city that so desperately needs them?