The United States has one of the lowest ratios of psychiatric beds to people in the developed world. (Photo: iStock)

Laws requiring mental health care to be on equal footing as physical care don’t appear to be producing the intended effect. The number of beds available for psychiatric care patients has fallen to a record low.

A report by the Arlington, Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center, a nonprofit that pushes for greater investment in mental health, found that the number of beds in state hospitals had dropped 17 percent since 2010, from 43,318 to 37,559. And yet, says the report, the need for beds has “skyrocketed.”

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