(WGHP) — Mental health calls are happening more often in the Piedmont Triad.  

Last week, High Point Police Chief Travis Stroud and two officers pulled a suicidal man off a bridge.  

When Stroud took him to the hospital, he learned they were already dealing with a mental health crisis.  

“They were overwhelmed that night. The ER was through the roof with people,” Stroud said. “I would say a large majority of the people that were taken in rooms were mental commitments.”

Dr. Kevin Steinl directs medical emergency services for Cone Health, which is one of the Triad’s largest mental healthcare providers.  

“Some days, a significant percentage of our beds are occupied by these folks,” Steinl said.  

On Thursday, there were at least 30 mental health patients In Cone Health ERsm and some have been there for months.  

“Right now, in our Cone Health ERs, we probably have seven to eight patients who have been in the emergency department for over 2,000 hours. I think that’s like 83 days. And of those people, there’s no plan,” he said. 

It’s left up to the medical staff to try and locate a mental health facility or a new group home. Those resources are stretched to the limit already. He says it’s not made any easier when they receive out-of-state patients who couldn’t receive mental healthcare in their home state. 

“All of a sudden … that patient will arrive one day on a bus to Greensboro,” Steinl said. 

These patients are desperate for care and head in one direction.  

“They don’t know what else to do, so they come to the ER,” Steinl said. “if you have a 50-bed ER, but now 10 of those beds are perpetually occupied by patients with behavioral health needs at times up to four to six months … you’ve lost a great deal of capacity to care for patients with other needs.” 

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Cone Health has a behavioral health urgent care at 931 Third St. in Greensboro. It’s one way they hope to help divert traffic from their ERs. 

At the state level, there is a potential plan to infuse $1 billion into mental healthcare, but the solution is more than that. 

For now, they’ll continue to serve as many people as they can for as long as they need in every ER.