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  •  "Deinstitutionalization: A Psychiatric... (1+ / 0-)
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    Old Lefty

    'Titanic" This PBS Frontline report explores the ramifications of deinstitutionalization:  

    ...Deinstitutionalization is the name given to the policy of moving severely mentally ill people out of large state institutions and then closing part or all of those institutions; it has been a major contributing factor to the mental illness crisis...

    The magnitude of deinstitutionalization of the severely mentally ill qualifies it as one of the largest social experiments in American history...

    Thus deinstitutionalization has helped create the mental illness crisis by discharging people from public psychiatric hospitals without ensuring that they received the medication and rehabilitation services necessary for them to live successfully in the community.

    Deinstitutionalization further exacerbated the situation because, once the public psychiatric beds had been closed, they were not available for people who later became mentally ill and this situation continues up to the present. Consequently, approximately 2.2 million severely mentally ill people do not receive any psychiatric treatment...

    One of the factors for deinstitionalization was the poor care and conditions in many of those institutions...
    Deinstitutionalization was based on the principle that severe mental illness should be treated in the least restrictive setting. As further defined by President Jimmy Carter's Commission on Mental Health, this ideology rested on "the objective of maintaining the greatest degree of freedom, self-determination, autonomy, dignity, and integrity of body, mind, and spirit for the individual while he or she participates in treatment or receives services..."8
    But the conundrum is that:  
    ...For a substantial minority, however, deinstitutionalization has been a psychiatric Titanic. Their lives are virtually devoid of "dignity" or "integrity of body, mind, and spirit." "Self-determination" often means merely that the person has a choice of soup kitchens. The "least restrictive setting" frequently turns out to be a cardboard box, a jail cell, or a terror-filled existence plagued by both real and imaginary enemies...
    What Reagan did was open the doors of the institutions, without providing any viable alternatives.  In fact, politicians have now left many of the mentally ill--and their families--with no place to go, without effective resources to deal with their specific issues.

    To add to the dilemma:  Families Mostly Powerless When Mentally Ill Adult Resists Help (Note: "Adult" includes anyone 18 and above)

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