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Mental Health

Surge of mental health visits continues at Bartlett Regional Hospital

The number of mental health patients in Juneau continues to skyrocket. Bartlett Regional Hospital first reported a surge of mental health crises in the spring of 2020, when patient visits doubled. The behavioral health department said it was overwhelmed back then.

Interim Chief Behavioral Health Officer Karren Forrest says the number of patients her department sees a month has now topped its previous numbers by 40%.

“We’re over about 1,400 people, up from 1,000 — that was the previous data point. So, we have seen that continue, and we have seen an increase in services provided across all age ranges,” Forrest said.

A new building to house the hospital’s behavioral health crisis center is slated to be complete in the spring of 2023.

The hospital offers psychiatric services in the emergency department, but clinicians can also meet community members at home. Forrest’s predecessor, Bradley Grigg, began a crisis intervention services team in the spring of 2021.

KTOO spoke to Karen Forrest as part of an hour-long special update on Bartlett Regional Hospital. You can find the full program at KTOO.org.

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