Social programs in the United States, Medicaid, Deinstitutionalisation

Enjoli Mitchell
Metropolitan Community College
HMSV 2120
Social Services Policy
Dr. Bob Dresser

There is an agreement that about 2.8% of the US adult population suffers from severe mental illness. The most severely disabled have been forgotten not only by society, but by most mental health advocates, policy experts and care providers. Deinstitutionalization is the name given to the policy of moving severely mentally ill patients out of large state institutions and then closing the institutions as a whole or partially. Deinstitutionalization is a multifunctional process to be viewed in a parallel way with the existing unmet socioeconomical needs of the persons to be discharged in the community and the development of a system of care alternatives (Mechanic 1990, Madianos 2002). The goal of deinstitutionalization is that people who suffer day to day with mental illness could lead a more normal life than living day to day in an institution. The movement was designed to avoid inadequate hospitals, promote socialization, and to reduce the cost of treatment. Many problems developed from this policy. The discharged individuals from public psychiatric hospitals were not ensured the medication and rehabilitation services necessary for them to live independently within the community. Many of the mentally ill patients were left homeless in the streets. Some of the discharged patients displayed unpredictable and violent behaviors and lacked direction within the community. A multitude of mentally ill patients ended up incarcerated or sent to emergency rooms. This placed a huge burden on the jail systems. Communities were not the only ones to suffer. Those who suffered with mental illness were the ones who were ultimately affected. The stereotypes attached to mental illness were enough for some to not get the appropriate help that they needed. Often times, the communities would not get involved, discarding those who suffer with mental...
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