Hurricane Sandy
may have done more than inflict significant damage on local homes and businesses: it also wreaked havoc on the city's already struggling mental-health system.

Bellevue, which housed the city's main psychiatric unit, has been closed since its electricity failed during the storm, along with NYU Langone Medical Center's main facility, Coney Island Hospital and Manhattan's Veterans Affairs Hospital. Psychiatric patients at those hospitals were transferred elsewhere, some to places with reportedly sketchy histories when it comes to caring for the mentally-ill, like Kings County Hospital.

And other medical facilities that remain open say they're overwhelmed with patients. "Triage has reached a different level: You have to be sicker to get in," Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Maimonides Hospital's chairman of psychiatry, told the Times. So more mentally-ill New Yorkers are being turned away, even onto the streets, and with many outpatient facilities similarly shuttered or overwhelmed, are finding it harder to get the medication and care they may have been provided before the storm.

The city has started to pay more attention to its mentally-ill population of late, with Mayor Bloomberg launching an initiative this week to provide more treatment for mentally-ill people convicted of crimes. And there may be some relief for psychiatric hospitals soon: according to Bellevue Hospital's website, its facilities plan to be back online by February.