A mental health crisis has hit regional South Australia as hundreds of patients had to be flown to Adelaide for treatment due to the lack of full-time psychiatrists in the state's regional public hospitals.

Last year, 250 sedated patients were transferred to Adelaide. Forty of the patients came from the regional town of Mount Gambier, 450 kilometres south of Adelaide.

The crisis is proving traumatic for patients at the Mount Gambier hospital, GPs and welfare workers there observed. Patient like Shane Bink, for example, was detained there last year.

When doctors failed to treat Bink, he was sedated, strapped on a stretcher and put on a plane going to Adelaide for treatment of his drug-induced psychosis.

The process hampers recovery as patients experience isolation and distance from their support network and everything they know, according to Stacey Tremelling, a mental health care worker from MIND.

Mt. Gambier police are affected by the crisis/ More than 50 patients posing danger to themselves or others had to be arrested, Superintendent Trevor Twilley reported.

South Australia health spokesman Duncan McFetridge said the federal government should step in and help the state government solve the crisis.