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50 Years Later, Mental Health Care in America Still Hard to Come By

Next week marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy signing historic legislation known as the Community Mental Health Act (back when the name of legislature plainly reflected what was in it). It was the country’s boldest attempt to bring mental health care into the modern era by moving people out of inpatient psychiatric hospitals, and put them back in the community where they belong, making mental health care affordable and readily available to all Americans.

And due to the federal government slashing funding for mental health care in the 1980s, the legislation was wildly successful in emptying out state psychiatric hospitals of old. The problem is, they had nowhere to go, because the government never bothered to come anywhere close to funding community mental health centers to make them an equivalent replacement.

John F. Kennedy’s vision here was bold but sadly unrealized. Fifty years later, our biggest providers of mental health care in the U.S.A. are not hospitals or community mental health centers at all… but prisons.

2 Comments to
50 Years Later, Mental Health Care in America Still Hard to Come By

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  1. Gee, and after reading this post, how can anyone with responsible attention to what bureaucracy that is modern American politics today will do with mental health care once this abomination of PPACA settles in as planned.

    Why is it I seem to be the only person genuinely frightened with what will happen with mental health care hereon. I guess everyone else is just waiting to see if that red burner on the stove is actually hot. Incredible what the general public has bought into with all this pathetic attention to cost issues alone regarding what PPACA will provide.

    Well, good luck. Note that it was a Democrat President who was involved with the above post, and now another one with PPACA. A trend?

  2. It’s 2013 and I’ve been trying to get help dealing with a traumatic childhood that is now haunting me. I am now disabled on Medicare and Medicaid so you’d think it would be easy… all I want is some therapy to help me work through this. It’s been everything BUT easy and I feel my self going from hopeful to hopeless.



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