By Nathaniel P. Morris


January 24, 2017




In the 20th century, the deinstitutionalization of mental health care took

patients out of long-term psychiatric facilities with the aim that they

might return to the community and lead more fulfilling lives. But in our

rush to shut down America's asylums, we failed to set up adequate outpatient

services for the mentally ill, who now often fend for themselves on the

streets or behind bars.




According to recent surveys, the number of state psychiatric beds has fallen

from over 550,000 in 1955 to fewer than 38,000 in 2016. Meanwhile, research

conducted by the Treatment Advocacy Center estimates over 355,000 inmates in

America's prisons and jails suffered from severe mental illness in 2012.

Last year, a report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development found

that over 100,000 Americans who experienced homelessness also suffered from