Since 1955, America has reduced its psychiatric hospital bed count by 515,000, even as its population has soared by 161 million. "Deinstitutionalization" promised more humane care for the mentally ill at local outpatient centers, while reducing the strain on government ﬁnances. Yet the results have been anything but humane.
At any given moment, one-third of severely mentally-ill Americans go untreated. The U.S. now has just 12 psychiatric hospital beds per 100,000 residents, the same ratio as in 1850, when the country's population was 23 million and per capita GDP was about $2,000 (in 1990 dollars). Meanwhile, prisons have largely replaced hospitals as the fallback option: an estimated 17%–25% of inmates suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other serious mental illnesses.
Recent school and police shootings as well as rising street homelessness among the mentally ill have rekindled public interest in asylums. Please join us for an MI mental-health luncheon on how to expand access to safer, more effective, and more humane care for Americans with mental illness.
DJ Jaffe, Executive Director, Mental Illness Policy Org
Jeffrey Geller, MD, Director, Public Sector Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Dominic Sisti, PhD, Director, Scattergood Program for Applied Ethics in Behavioral Health Care, University of Pennsylvania
Emanuel Trujillo, MD, Faculty and Founding Director, NYU-Bellevue Public Psychiatry Fellowship; former Director of Psychiatry, Bellevue Hospital
Moderator: Howard Husock, Vice President, Research & Publications, MI