Sickest Mental-Health Patients Ending Up In Jails, Homeless Shelters.

In a lengthy piece in its magazine section, the New York Times (6/24, MM24, Interlandi, Subscription Publication) reported, “Deinstitutionalization, the systematic closure of state psychiatric hospitals, was codified by the Community Mental Health Centers Act of 1963 and supported by patients’ rights laws secured state by state. Chief among those laws were strict new standards: only people who posed an imminent danger to themselves or someone else could be committed to a psychiatric hospital or treated against their will.” However, “in the decades since, the sickest patients have begun turning up in jails and homeless shelters with a frequency that mirrors that of the late 1800s.” Such patients also end up in the emergency department. The article detailed the story of Joseph Interlandi, the article author’s father and a patient with bipolar disorder who was bounced around between the ED, jail cells, and short-term psychiatric hospitals before finally receiving long-term psychiatric help through a community mental-health center.

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— “When My Crazy Father Actually Lost His Mind, “Jeneen Interlandi, , June 22 , 2012.

Posted in In The News.