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Deinstitutionalization- a term popularized in the mid fifties to early seventies was an experiment involving the release of some 830000 mental patients By reducing state mental hospitals by 60 this ideology was found very appealing by Liberals due to mental patients receiving their freedom Website 1 It was also liked by conservatives because of the large amount of money that would be saved by cutting the mental health budget A very debatable question arises when analyzing this and the upsurge of homelessness Is the increase of homelessness due to deinstitutionalization I believe that homelessness is not a result of deinstitutionalization but rather in the way it has been implemented Approximately 20-25 of the single adult homeless population suffers from some form of severe and persistent mental illness Website 2 According to the Federal Task Force on Homelessness and Severe Mental Illness only 5-7 of the mentally ill homeless need to be institutionalized Website 2 A majority of mentally ill can live within the community with the appropriate supportive housing options Website 2 That is where the problem lies The mentally ill individuals who have been dependent on all aspects of an institution are being thrown into a community with little help or guidance The importance of the distribution of psychoactive medication and financial support were perceived but the signific ance of helping to create a community status role for the mentally ill was overlooked Once this became apparent community mental health centers were very resistant to providing services for them States were also extremely reluctant to distribute funds for these community-based services Website 3 There are also several aspects of institutionalism that were not recognized in the early stages of deinstitutionalization First observations of patients that spend a substantial amount of time in a hospital prove that one develops institutionalism This is a syndrome characterized by lack of initiative apathy withdrawal submissiveness to authority and excessive dependence on the institution Website 3 It
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