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Advocates for mentally ill say many go untreated in NH

CONCORD - Mentally ill people, many of them suicidal, depressed or in a manic state, are languishing untreated for days in hospital emergency rooms, advocates said.

Advocates for the mentally ill, physicians, police and county officials said the delays in treatment are symptoms of a broken system.

They spoke today at a press conference and called for more community supports for the mentally ill and more hospital beds.

"If we were talking about cardiac care, we wouldn't be talking about what number is the right number (to spend). We'd be talking about what's the right thing to do ," said Dr. P. Travis Harker, president of the New Hampshire Medical Society.

Monday morning, 31 adults and three children were in New Hampshire hospital emergency rooms waiting for admission to a psychiatric hospital or ward, said Ken Norton, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, New Hampshire chapter.

That broke a record of 26 adults in waiting, set last October.


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