Of Mental Patients and Hospitals

May 5, 2009
By Salma_H SILVER, San Diego, California
Salma_H SILVER, San Diego, California
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“An institution is any place in which people who have been labeled as having an intellectual disability are isolated, segregated and/or congregated. An institution is any place in which people do not have, or are not allowed to exercise, control over their lives and their day to day decisions. An institution is not defined merely by its size.”
-The Canadian Association for Community Living

To many, the idea of mental illness is something that anybody that isn’t a doctor or a psychologist should not concern themselves with. “It cannot be cured; we cannot do anything,” I have heard too many people say. But, we need to listen and learn about the problems going on in the hospitals: there is not enough money, the hospitals are overcrowded. In the 1950s and 1960s, the idea of deinstitutionalization arose in many countries, mainly as a way to save money, a better alternative to the state hospitals in which these mental patients lived. The aforementioned method has helped in the betterment of health care around the world and should be taken on by the uncertain countries and the others that are adamant on keeping the mentally ill in hospitals. But they fail to see the real issue: hospitalization does not always help.
Deinstitutionalization is a method wherein patients in mental institutions are taken from hospitals and put into homes where they learn the basics of life that others are taught growing up in regular homes. This method was made to help create new, better facilities for the patients who have been living in the very institutions that they have been shoved into by the people who hadn’t wanted to deal with them. It is an illustration of evolution in the mental health care of people in this world.
This method helps the patients by getting them closer to the community, preventing the unwanted hatred and ridicule from other people. The public, under the impression that “different is bad”, shuns and often ridicules the “abnormal” people, the people we deem different. The mental patients, though we try to deny it, are being unfairly treated.
The people of this world, the “normal” people, act cruel because they feel difference is a threat to normalcy. Deinstitutionalization helps change the fears and helps the patients learn not about their own mental instability, but about the basics that we learn every day when we go off to school, the things we teach our children and everybody else. The patients get a better understanding of the world around them. This method keeps the patients from depressing thoughts and helps them live.

In the nineteenth century, the US had built hospitals for the chronically ill, and mental health care was a necessity at the time. But, the hospitalized patients didn’t get any better, and the patients instead received care in which they were watched over, but there was no cure for them. But soon the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) were founded and new facilities were built to house the patients. Soon, the Supreme Court of the United States had ruled that all states had to provide community-based facilities for the mentally ill, that is if the professionals deem it appropriate. In these facilities, the patients learn basic cooking, personal hygiene, and other general subjects that others learn in their schools.

Since its creation, deinstitutionalization has been adopted by some countries around the world, but there are still many undecided countries that do not see that this method can help with the housing and care of the mentally ill. This method has helped educate many people on the importance of mental health care.

The process of deinstitutionalization has helped in many ways with the care of the mental patients in the United States and other countries, and it has been a strong point for the mental health care. Therefore, it should be taken on by the countries who have not seen the wonders deinstitutionalization can do for them.

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