Outpatient Psychiatric Clinics

It was widely believed that having the mentally ill stay at home with the family and visit outpatient psychiatric clinics would be more beneficial than boarding them in mental hospitals.  While an excellent theory, there was no data behind that assumption; in reality, many patients did not benefit from their outpatient care and did worse than when they were hospitalized.  It was wrongly assumed that all mentally ill patients would have people at home who could take control and responsibility for their care, the running of the household would help in rehabilitation, and the addition of the mentally ill person back into the family would be an easy transition.  In fact, many mentally ill patients did not have family who could care for them and were left out on the streets or forced to go into community care facilities.  States ignored these problems, and the use of outpatient psychiatric clinics were popular through the 1950s and the 1960s (Grob, 1991).

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Grob, G. N. (1991). The chronic mentally ill in America: The historical context. In V. Fransen (Ed.) Mental health services in the United States and England: Struggling for Change, (pp. 3-17). Princeton, N.J., US: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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