Show Me The Money
All in the Family
Treating mental illness requires resources
Published on January 8, 2014 by Rachel Pruchno, Ph.D. in All in the Family
But before we can institute change, we need to understand how we got here.
The bottom line is that mental health care never has been funded sufficiently.
A look back at history—at the attempts of Dorothea Dix, Clifford Beers, and John Kennedy to enrich the lives of people with mental illness—is instructive. Together their efforts tell the story of what’s gone wrong in our approach to providing care for people with mental illness.
A series of detailed state investigations beginning in Massachusetts in the 1840’s led by Dorothea Dix examined how people with mental illness were treated. She found that towns contracted with local individuals to provide care for people with mental illnesses who could not care for themselves and who lacked family or friends to help them. Unregulated and underfunded, abuse was widespread. People were chained, naked, beaten with rods, and lashed into obedience.1
Following a suicide attempt, Clifford Beers, a graduate of Yale, was hospitalized at both the Hartford Retreat and the Connecticut Hospital for the Insane. In 1907, disillusioned by his experiences at these institutions, he wrote A Mind That Found Itself. Beers accepted his diagnosis of manic depression, but was critical of the psychiatrists who had treated him. Their use of punitive measures, including straitjackets and seclusion and their lax system of supervision of brutal, untrained attendants angered him.
Resources in the community are woefully inadequate. People with mental illness have no place to go for treatment. And so they live on our streets and sometimes in our prisons.
Another great article by Psychology Today http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-in-the-family/201401/show-me-the-money