In “No Room at the Inn: Trends and Consequences of Closing Public Psychiatric Hospitals,” we use data from the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Research Institute to report changes in the availability of public psychiatric hospital beds from 2005 to 2010 and to assess the consequences for individuals and society. In summary:They indicate that the per capita state mental hospital capacity is now where it was in the 1850s. Even if antipsychotic medicines worked perfectly, and even if there was no problem with mentally ill persons refusing to take those medicines, this would be a perfectly peculiar situation. State mental hospitals in the 1850s were already crowded. As the mass murder problem that has developed in the last 30 years demonstrates, we need more capacity than we currently have.
Overall, many states appear to be effectively terminating a public psychiatric treatment system that has existed for nearly two centuries. The system was originally created to protect both the patients and the public, and its termination is taking place with little regard for the consequences to either group.
Monday, July 23, 2012
The Decline of Mental Hospitals
Treatment Advocacy Center has a new paper out about how state mental hospitals are in serious decline: