Caring for Patients with Mental Illness
Deinstitutionalization, a multi-stage process, resulted from a shift in policy. Deinstitutionalization allowed individuals with chronic, severe mental illness to move out of state mental hospitals into community-based settings. Between 1955 and 1980, the resident population of state hospitals dropped from 559,000 to 154,000 in the United States (Koyanagi, 2007). By 1990, state hospitals began closing completely throughout the United States.
Although deinstitutionalization sought to improve care for those with mental illness, progress has been slow. Moving patients out of state institutions has placed greater burdens on family members and increased the demand for funding and resources to care for those with mental illness. A shift toward community-based care has increased the role of social workers in community mental health.
To prepare for this Discussion:
Consider trends in mental health issues and mental health care. Review this week’s resources and focus on the debate about the deinstitutionalization policy in mental health care.
Post a brief explanation of how the deinstitutionalization policy has affected inpatient psychiatric care. Then, explain how the policy affects the roles of psychiatric social workers in providing care for patients with mental illness. Considering the policy, explain the challenges and issues caregivers face when caring for individuals with mental illness. Identify three resources (provide name and web address) available in your local area (county or state) to support patients with mental illness and caregivers. Explain whether these resources are adequate to meet the needs of mental illness patients and caregivers. Justify your response.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the resources and the current literature using appropriate APA format and style.
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