Deinstitutionalization Of The Mentally Ill Essay

815 Words Mar 22nd, 2016 4 Pages
I believe that deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill was a serious mistake. In order to draw this conclusion, I had to first understand what deinstitutionalization was and why we came to this decision as a country. In 1955 the number of patients in mental hospitals peaked to a striking 560,000 patients only a year after Thorazine, an antipsychotic drug was approved by the Food and Drug administration. Not even 10 years later, John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health act to enact federal funding for the building of community-based preventative care and treatment facilities. Although, the act was signed the funding was never truly provided due to the Vietnam War and economic problems. Not only did the act promote the building of these new treatment facilities, but also changed how and by whom these services to the mentally ill would be provided. This is just the beginning of where deinstitutionalization went wrong.

Many of the problems with deinstitutionalization stem from the idea that mentally ill patients will develop a sense of purpose and belonging in society and in a sense be treated with humanity and dignity, when in fact the opposite is true. According to Kelly S. and McKenna, “Instead of people being integrated into the community, people with mental illness trade the isolation of the hospital for the isolation of the house or apartment.” This basically means that although the mentally ill are being introduced into society, the boundaries placed on…

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