The PBS Frontline documentary on The New Asylums reveals the true story behind that word deinstitutionalization. By looking at the number of people who had been prison, looking at the population growth across the country and the dramatic decline in the number of people in mental hospitals we can see the impact of this policy. But the record is decidedly mixed when you consider the rapid increase in the number of mentally ill persons in prisons. One might say that for a portion of the population we have not succeeded. When you have shifted the setting from one type of institution to another, what have you accomplished?
Moreover, too many people, patients, clinicians and family members, seem to be looking for that magic pill to make the pain go away. I reblogged something called Panic Attacks: Stop Scaring Yourself. But if I knew how, people could stop scaring themselves I would be working for the National Institutes of Mental Health. Perhaps the graduate program in community mental health I will be entering in January will offer me some new insights about breaking this cycle
In the meantime, the week is ending on a high note for me so I will leave you with these words from The Boss Bruce Springsteen.
We said we’d walk together baby come what may
That come the twilight should we lose our way
If as we’re walking a hand should slip free
I’ll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
- Deinstitutionalization in the 20th century (hxpsychinst.wordpress.com)
- Book Review – American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System by E. Fuller Torrey, MD (chaoticcompendiums.com)
- Rethinking mental health care (csmonitor.com)