Problems with Deinstitutionlization

Although the deinstitutionalization movement was meant to give individuals a more independent way of living, it also caused a number of problems:

1. As a result of the numerous court decisions, individuals that could not be institutionalized against their will had the chance of becoming homeless or being placed in prison.

2. The homelessness of the mentally ill likely had an effect on society as a whole.

Homelessness is often a result of deinstitutionalization.

3. The legal rights of the mentally ill were protected because they were not forced into institutions, but it became more difficult to provide the necessary treatment for them.

4. Traditional support mechanisms for these individuals often decreased as friends, families, and neighbors did not want to take responsibility for an unmedicated and uninstitutionalized individual (Porter, Kaplan, & Homeier, 2009).


Porter, R. S., Kaplan, J. L., & Homeier, B. P. (2009).  The MERCK Manual Home Health Handbook. Whitehouse Station, NJ, US: MERCK Research Laboratories.

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