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Should We Open More Long-Term Psychiatric Facilities?

Recently TheAtlantic.com published an article titled, Should the US Bring Back Psychiatric Asylums? The article talks about the cynicism surrounding long-term psychiatric facilities, the consequences of de-institutionalization (homelessness and incarceration), as well as the need for such psychiatric facilities. So the question is, should we open more long-term psychiatric facilities?

Long-Term Psychiatric Facilities — Should We Open More?

Long-term psychiatric facilities are expensive and thus opening more is controversial but should we consider opening more long-term psychiatric facilities?As one who has received treatment in long-term psychiatric hospitals, I understand the concerns of the naysayers. I survived medical neglect and psychiatric mistreatment at one hospital, but at another I was treated fine. It may initially seem like a bad idea, but it is an idea worth considering. Jails, prisons and the streets are not designed to treat severe mental illness, while hospitals are. However, there should be adequate public oversight of such psychiatric facilities, as well as adequate funding for the facilities currently operating.

Regardless of what we as a society decide to do, we need to do something to be more humane in our treatment of severe and chronic mental illness.

You can also find Becky Oberg on Google+Facebook and Twitter and Linkedin.

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7 Responses to Should We Open More Long-Term Psychiatric Facilities?

  1. Renita says:

    My cousin had mental health issues and was in and out of hospitals and jails eventually ending up homeless. The sad thing was his mother (a retired) forensic psychiatric nurse should have known better and been there for him, but unfortunately she was also an alcoholic who married a lot of men that mistreated her and her kid. Another sad thing is that it wasn’t until he got a PHYSICAL illness that he began to get the proper supports he needed.

    I also know a close family friend whose brother and father both worked in the same psychiatric hospital – both ended up sadly committing suicide and died. This friend who works at the same hospital now has alot of problems and is also an alcoholic. I fear he’ll end up like his other family members or worse if he doesn’t get the help he needs

  2. Sari Crossman says:

    I’m with Becky on this one. This is a very touchy subject but the fact of the matter is that since the psychiatric hospitals all closed what? about 20 years ago, we now have a terrible homelessness problem in North America. I am not saying that we should institutionalize people. I have also spent more than my share of time in psychiatric hospitals over the years but what is the alternative? Prison? No. People need COMMUNITY supports, not long-term care in a psychiatric hospital. Where I live there is an organization called WOTCH which stands for Western Ontario Therapeutic Community Housing. They have done a remarkable job of helping the chronically mentally ill in our community and visits to the ERs and stays on psychiatric units are way down. This is more of what we need in North America.

  3. Rachel says:

    The institutions (hospitals) are neither the problem or total solution. They can benefit a community by offering a place for safe stabilization. What needs to be implemented is more effective pschosocial rehab and aftercare so that clients do not have to be institutionalized. If the hospital is more concerned with money/profit, they will be happy to continue “warehousing” people the way the prisons in America do.

  4. Carol Wolf says:

    This is a very valid topic. I’ve read articles that basically said jails have become overcrowded with people who have mental illnesses. Jails are not set up for mental health issues, they compound the problem for everyone from staff, inmates and the mentally ill.

    Opening up long-term facilities is debatable. A lot of short-term facilities just get patients stable on their meds and out the door they go with no follow-up. The institutions of old are also scary places, they even look scary. I’m in favor of long term care if (1) an overhaul is done to make long term care effective. (2) They are seriously needed as many mentally ill people end up on the streets with no support at all, or are stuck with a bunch of criminals behind bars which exacerbates symptoms of the mentally ill.

  5. Betty Carlson says:

    I think long term mental hospitals are needed. Not the asylums of old but modern facilities offering support, classe, therapy and helping to transition the mental ill back into society. I also think prisons should have separate psychiatric prisons. We have to many people in the US that are being under treated or not treated at all. I went 3 months a year and half ago when I should have been on a psych hold but there was no space.

  6. ANON.. says:

    A PLANET THAT WAS 24000 MILES FROM END TO END PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION WAS SMALL WHO SUFFERED A MENTAL TYPE OF ILLNESS FROM AN ANOTHER SCENARIO ; DIFFERENT MOTIVES YET REMAINEDER OF POPULATION WAS NOT INTERESTED IN THEIR “IDEA”

  7. Opening up long-term facilities is good because they are seriously needed as many mentally ill people end up on the streets with no support at all, or are stuck with a bunch of criminals behind bars which exacerbates symptoms of the mentally ill. Thanks for sharing the blog.

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