In 1963 President John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act into law. $365,000,000 was authorized to start community based mental health treatment programs, so that the mentally ill could be treated at home rather than in horrifying, ancient hospitals where they were often just housed. The act was lauded as the beginning of a new era for treating mental illness.
Now 50 years later, the results are utter chaos and inhumanity. Many of the mentally ill now sleep under freeways, roam the streets, urinate and defecate wherever, and attack random people because they feel that they are being threatened.
Why did this wonderful idea fail?
Politics! The politicians refused to allocate enough money to fund community mental health centers and build new state-of-the-art acute-care hospitals.
It really is that simple. Psychotic people need laws to get them admitted, against their will, to a hospital. Plus, their psychological treatment needs to be funded.
Closing the antiquated psych hospitals was a great idea, but then all the saved money went to everything but mental health.
Did the politicians really believe that psychiatric illness would just disappear? Poof!
They’re crazier than the poor psychotics roaming the streets.
Oh. And did I mention that the politicians cared more about getting re-elected than doing the right thing? Silly me. Finally, after 50 years of chaos, maybe things might change.
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