Brattleboro Retreat reports 23 percent admission growth in 2010

BRATTLEBORO — According to a recent news release from the Brattleboro Retreat, the facility saw its admissions jump by a record 23 percent in 2010.

Officials at the Retreat, a nonprofit, regional specialty psychiatric hospital and addictions treatment center, attribute the spike in admissions to an increase in depression caused by economic stress, increased abuse of prescription drugs, and the launch of a series of new services and programs.

The Retreat provided in-patient care for nearly 3,000 adults and adolescents in 2010, with as many as 24 new admissions per day. That's the most in the facility's 177-year history. The average in-patient stay last year at the Retreat ranged from 6.5 to 14.8 days.

Nationally, psychiatric hospitals saw an admissions increase of about 3.5 percent, according to the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (NAPHS).

“The economic downturn and the stress it created on individuals and their families certainly had an impact on the number of new patients,” said Dr. Robert E. Simpson, Jr., the Retreat's president and CEO.

Simpson said the Retreat currently has 95 inpatient beds, and is considering plans to increase that number by 14 within the year. The Retreat is also planning to create approximatly 35 additional jobs to meet increased demands for services.

In addition to the increase in patients suffering from depression and an increase in the abuse rates of Oxycontin and other prescription opiates, Simpson said new clinical initiatives, including a program designed exclusively to treat veterans, first responders, and other uniformed professionals suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other duty-related problems, added to the facility's caseload.

The Retreat has also expanded its alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs and is in its third year of offering an inpatient LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) program which opened in 2009.

Simpson said that greater public awareness and understanding of mental health issues, and a reduced stigma attached to those who receive treatment, has also played a role in the increase in the number of patients.

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