A Cure for “Catch-All” Emergency Rooms

September 7, 2016

(The Atlantic) – Despite the many drawbacks to ER visits, law enforcement often has nowhere else to house people who are clearly experiencing mental-health crises but are not a danger to themselves or others. The emergency room, said Alamosa County Sheriff Robert Jackson, is “our catch-all.” Police here have few other options. The county jail is overcrowded, and just two officers in Alamosa have been trained in crisis intervention, which teaches officers to de-escalate situations involving people in mental-health crisis. Alamosa, a town of 10,000 people that serves as a hub for those seeking social services throughout Colorado’s isolated San Luis Valley, has just nine beds in its ER.