Crisis in Community Care
Shuffling and Dumping of Disturbed People
The removal of mentally ill people from large institutions and their placement into community situations is not a new story, but it remains, even after a quarter-century of steady deinstitutionalization, a deeply troubling story. Just about everybody involved in the process describes the results as unsatisfactory, or worse.
What was justified as an effort to provide disturbed people with more humane treatment in less restrictive settings has left thousands of patients adrift, barely able or unable to cope, and for thousands more it has meant re-institutionalization in in-appropriate facilities. The comprehensive system of community care facilities that was supposed to take the place of central institutions is only half-built, and now, at a time when federal programs ...