Fifty years ago, the process of "deinstitutionalization," closing America's state mental institutions where people often languished for life in deplorable conditions, was supposed to be accompanied by the development of robust, community-based mental health services. That vision has yet to be fully realized.
Today, we have a system that is broken, fragmented, and difficult to access. People and families are often unable to get help until they are in crisis-- and even then, the quality of care is uneven.
We need community-based services that prevent crisis and costly, devastating cycles of institutionalization, incarceration, and homelessness.
We know more today than we ever have about what helps people with mental health conditions to recover their lives and to achieve whole health and wellness. We need to close the gap between what we know and what we do, in policy and practice, and in our communities.