A bed is seen in an unoccupied room at the Fulton State Hospital, the oldest public mental health facility west of the Mississippi River, in Fulton, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

When Brittny Adams-Jenkins’ schizophrenia and bipolar disorder symptoms became too much for her family to handle, she moved in with an abusive boyfriend. She eventually escaped to a battered women’s shelter, but her stay there was short-lived and soon after she found herself homeless. She was spiraling, and had little access to treatment for her mental illnesses.

“I was going almost every month to the emergency room,” Adams-Jenkins, now 33, says. “It got to be a routine thing. They just gave me my meds and sent me on my way.”

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