When have we ever done well in treating the mentally ill in this country?
Questions:
Morgan DelliQuadri
24

During Kennedy’s administration, we passed the Community Mental Health Act of 1963 (CMHA). The law exclusively focused on building the actual buildings that Community Mental Health Centers would occupy. It was underfunded, so only about half of the centers were ever built. The federal government failed to fund the Center year after year, just as you said, not doing well on treating the mentally ill. The law itself and the advent of more medications led to a mass exodus of patients from state mental institutions into the community. In 1980, at a peak need for funding the community mental health centers and housing for disabled people from federal dollars, Reagan made this funding in the form of block grants with substantial cuts to funding. Homelessness skyrocketed under Reagan. As a mental health practitioner who helped pick up the pieces of his funding policies as I worked with the people with serious mental illnesses in the early 1990s. We helped with getting people housed with supportive housing, getting people jobs with supported employment, and many other psychosocial rehabilitation interventions. The funding for that didn’t come until Clinton.