Your current web browser is outdated. For best viewing experience, please consider upgrading to the latest version.
ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
ERROR
Main Error Mesage Here
More detailed message would go here to provide context for the user and how to proceed
search DONATE
Close Nav

Why American Mental-Health Care Is Failing: A Restatement

back to top
commentary

Why American Mental-Health Care Is Failing: A Restatement

National Review Online March 6, 2022
Health PolicyMental Illness

When so many ‘problems of living’ get reclassified as medical conditions, mental health becomes the government system that can’t say no.

Shortly after World War II, mental-health authorities made a promise that went something like this: Everything’s going to get better. We’ve decided that confining mentally ill Americans to asylums is unnecessary and harmful. They will be transferred to a place known as “the community.” There, we plan to develop a new array of programs superior to the discredited asylum system. The mentally ill will live normal lives in the community, thanks to supports — social, employment, recreational, housing — and access to treatment, whose efficacy is, by the way, rapidly improving. Mental health used to be “the shame of the states,” but that day is passing.

This promise was not kept, though it’s been restated countless times since it was first made. For about 70 years, American mental-health care has remained on the verge of transformation.

Dr. Thomas Insel provides another restatement in his new book Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health. There may be no one more qualified than Insel to assess American mental-health care’s promise. He served for 13 years as the head of the National Institute of Mental Health, a federal agency that is the world’s largest funder of mental-health research. In 2019, California governor Gavin Newsom appointed Insel to serve as that state’s “mental-health czar.” Into the bargain may be thrown Insel’s “lived experience” as the father of children who overcame mental disorders (anorexia and ADHD). Insel has a reputation as a truth-teller on fraught questions such as mental illness’s link with violence.

Continue reading the entire piece here at National Review

______________________

Stephen Eide is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor of City Journal.

Photo by fizkes/iStock

Saved!
Close