ROANOKE, Va. (WJHL) – Several psychiatric hospitals in Virginia have decided to halt admissions, citing staffing and capacity issues.

The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association stated in a letter to the Virginia legislature and state leaders that, “the most urgent action the Commonwealth can take is directing large-scale resources to recruit and retain workforce in the behavioral health care sector.”

According to Vice President of Communications for the VHHA Julian Walker, this is occurring at a time when demand for mental health and substance abuse services are continuing to rise.

Walker states that data suggests some hospitals are encountering situations where patients facing mental health crises are being temporality placed in hospital emergency departments which is causing complications when coupled with the ongoing pandemic.

Also according to Walker, in recent years, Virginia hospitals have responded to this by adding hundreds of beds for mental health issues with plans for more to come in the future.

As of Monday, five of Virginia’s eight facilities are affected by the admission halt. Those are Central State Hospital, Eastern State Hospital, Piedmont Geriatric Hospital, Western State Hospital and Catawba Hospital.

Walker says that Virginia hospitals continue to work with the state government to find ways to best serve patients in the Commonwealth.