Staffing Shortages In State Mental Hospitals Held Acute

October 9, 1969

The Maryland Association For Mental Health (MAMH) has written Governor Mendel asking for immediate action on the staffing shortages in the State’s mental hospitals.

The letter, signed by MAMH President Reuben Shiling, states: “This is a situation rapidly approaching the proportions of a major crisis and one which, unless rectified shortly, may make our hospitals the cause of a second ‘Maryland Shame’.”

The MAMH letter to Governor notes that the Department of Mental Hygiene over the past three years has experienced increasing budget restrictions resulting in a decreasing ability to employ hospital personnel.

During that same period, the Association notes, “the Department of Mental Hygiene has experienced an increase in admission of over 25 percent, an increase in net releases of over 28 percent, and an increase in the total number of patients under care of over 10 percent.”

“The result has been a reduction in the capability of the hospitals to render the needed human services to the patients under their care,” the letter states.

In a set of Recommendations included with the letter, the Association asks that the Governor take immediate steps to alleviate the staffing shortages, that increases be allowed in the Department’s Fiscal 1971 Budget, and that attention be given to working conditions in the State’s mental hospitals and to the level of salaries paid to all employees.

Mr. Shiling states that the MAMH had taken action on the problem by appointing a Committee on Mental Hospital Staff Shortages to research the situation and inspect the State’s mental hospitals.

The report describes some of the results of staff shortages in the State’s mental hospitals and gives background on budget restrictions placed on the Department of Mental Hygiene.

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