Saturday, October 27, 2018

Did President Reagan close mental health hospitals and cause a dramatic rise in homelessness and crime in America?

Jan Leonard Mentally ill? No help? No place to go? And WHO can we thank for that? Republicans. Reaping what was sown.

Before he became president, Reagan was the governor of California. And there, in 1972, he signed the Lanterman–Petris–Short Act - Wikipedia , which was an overhaul of the existing system whereby people who were judged to be mentally ill could be institutionalized against their will. The bill proposed closing most state-run mental institutions and dealing with patients in an outpatient setting. Although well-intentioned, and promoted by the ACLU as a guarantor of freedom, Reagan saw it primarily as a way for the state to save money.

Unfortunately, there were two factors that spelled disaster for the results: first, the ambitious plans for providing outpatient support for former inmates never really came to fruition. Also, this happened near the end of the Vietnam War, when thousands of GIs were returning home every month with PTSD, drug-induced psychoses, and other factors which before, might’ve resulted in them being institutionalized and (theoretically) getting some help. The result was that the population of homeless veterans exploded, and too little was done to address their needs, or to track them to ensure they were taking medications and making appointments.
So, yeah — Reagan bears some responsibility for the huge number of homeless vets on the street, because he signed the bill into law when he was governor of California. The bill wasn’t of his making, but he had the option of fighting or even vetoing it, which he didn’t do. The irony is that it didn’t really save the state money in the long run, it merely transferred the cost from paying for state-
run hospitals serving inpatients, to paying for homeless services.
Ron Alexander Very familiar with this Jan, I worked at Napa State hosp. where they kicked out hundreds of mentally ill, the start of vast homelessness on the streets. I have talked with other Counselors who worked at State Hospitals in other state, and report the same problem. Thanks, I will share...Oh, his wife started the Community Mental Health programs, however like the HMO's, most are not nonprofit tragically.

Jan Leonard It is an tragedy of lasting and enormous proportion. No place to go but jail, the streets, the grave (suicide).
And, of course, it has cost ($$$) us far more than it ever cost us in the first place.
Ron Alexander When I was at Napa State, the only federal money they could get to be matched by State Funds was for the "Criminally Mentally Ill". We had one locked building for them, however the rest was like a college campus, with all kind of recreational therapy programs. I worked in the transitional Building, where the patients could come and go. Unlocked gates, however with the new funding, a chain link fence was built around the whole place, and it became more like a prison. Well I quit, as I did not want to became more like a guard than a counselor. I find these "patients" to be so sensitive, and hard to be in this world, as they need comforting much more then guarding. At the same time, Reagan started arming National Park Rangers, and I had a friend who turned to a different position in Yosemite, so he did not have to carry a weapon. All this increased paranoia in our country which is playing out right now tragically!

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