Homeless and Deinstitutionalization

915 Words2 Pages

Homeless and Deinstitutionalization

Deinstitutionalization- a term popularized in the mid fifties to early seventies, was an experiment involving the release of some 830,000 mental patients. By reducing state mental hospitals by 60%, this ideology was found very appealing by Liberals due to mental patients receiving their freedom (Website 1). It was also liked by conservatives because of the large amount of money that would be saved by cutting the mental health budget.

A very debatable question arises when analyzing this, and the upsurge of homelessness. Is the increase of homelessness due to deinstitutionalization? I believe that homelessness is not a result of deinstitutionalization, but rather in the way it has been implemented. Approximately 20-25% of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent mental illness (Website 2). According to the Federal Task Force on Homelessness and Severe Mental Illness, only 5-7% of the mentally ill homeless need to be institutionalized (Website 2). A majority of mentally ill can live within the community with the appropriate supportive housing options (Website 2). That is where the problem lies. The mentally ill individuals, who have been dependent on all aspects of an institution, are being thrown into a community with little help or guidance. The importance of the distribution of psychoactive medication and financial support were perceived, but the significance of helping to create a community status role for the mentally ill was overlooked. Once this became apparent, community mental health centers were very resistant to providing services for them. States were also extremely reluctant to distribute funds for these community-based servi...

... middle of paper ...

...y basis. For those who are I believe that the whole process of deinstitutionalization needs to be rethought. The emergency homeless shelters and the short lived institution visits just aren't working. These individuals need to be embraced by the community not shunned because a difference they have no control over. With the right amount of financial support, guidance, and medication I believe we would see more somewhat dependent mentally ill individuals.



(Website1). http://csf.colorado.edu/mail/homeless/feb99/0037.html

(Website2). http://nch.ari.net/causes.html

(Website3). http://wwwlinteractivist.net/housing/deinstitutionalization_1.html

(Website4). http://www.psych-health.com/madness1.htm

(Website5). /Encarta.msn.com/find/concise.asp?ti=008F600

(Website6). http://www.flashl.net/~rwcarlso/larry.htm

Open Document