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Deinstitutionalization Case

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Deciding whether or not deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill has worked is not a simple black and white debate. There are many factors from both sides that make each argument hold some validity, but in my opinion deinstitutionalization hasn't exactly worked. At the same time, I don't believe that institutionalization of the mentally ill is the perfect solution for the situation. A possible combination of institutionalizing the mentally ill and still allowing them the freedom of a true life in society would be a better solution than just one or the other.

There are a few arguments against deinstitutionalization that hold valid points. Those arguments include the fact that through deinstitutionalization, patients may not receive necessary care or proper preparation for life in the community and can easily revert back to ways of dependence. If, as E. Fuller Torrey states, "approximately 150,000 are homeless on any given day, and another 150,000 are in jails and prisons," then deinstitutionalization hasn't quite worked as the best solution.

The reason deinstitutionalization can be such a disaster is after living in a confined and isolated environment such as mental hospitals, patients lose the capability of functioning properly in society without the care of professionals at all times. In favor of the other argument though, deinstitutionalization may not be the exact source of the problem, but instead it could be "society's general attitudes about mental illness, social welfare, and criminal justice [that] leave individuals with severe mental illness at a disadvantage," as Howard H. Goldman states. Clearly, the government has seriously failed at assisting the deinstitutionalization process by the lack of help paving the pathway for the patients to be successful in the real world. Much more needs to be done by the government and how they structure their policies in order for this process to work.

I would have to agree with Keri Oneil when she states that, "[she] believe[s] that the intentions behind deinstitutionalization were very good ones, however these good intentions got turned into a disaster because of the way they were carried out." I too see how deinstitutionalization was supposed to help those suffering from mental illness have a more fulfilling life than simply days spent in n confined area without true human interaction in society.



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