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Long-awaited study of Oregon’s mental health gaps puts $500 million price tag on needed beds

A recent study has revealed a concerning shortfall of 3,000 adult residential mental health beds in Oregon, with an estimated construction cost exceeding $500 million. This deficit, especially prominent in beds for substance use disorders and withdrawal management, underscores the pressing demand for mental health services in the state. The comprehensive analysis, commissioned by Governor Tina Kotek, aims to address the urgent need for sustained funding to navigate the escalating mental health crisis. The final report, expected in June, will provide a detailed breakdown of bed distribution and propose a comprehensive funding strategy. The study comes at a critical time as Oregon grapples with a mental health crisis exacerbated by factors such as rising housing costs, homelessness, the pandemic, and the prevalence of potent drugs like meth and fentanyl. With mental health service funding on the rise, mental health providers have long expressed concerns about the widening gap between bed supply and increasing demand. While the study identifies a need for 351 new mental health beds supported by recent funding, operational by the latter half of 2025, it also highlights an additional unfunded shortage of 3,000 beds. Stakeholders anticipate that the report will spark crucial debates in the Legislature to comprehensively address mental health needs and bed availability.

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