Treatment Settings and Therapeutic Programs
MENTAL HEALTH CARE HAS UNDERGONE profound changes in the past 50 years. Before the 1950s, humane treatment in large state facilities was the best available strategy for people with chronic and persistent mental illness, many of whom stayed in such facilities for months or years. The introduc-tion of psychotropic medications in the 1950s offered the first hope of successfully treating the symptoms of mental illness in a meaningful way. By the 1970s, focus on client rights and changes in commitment laws led to deinstitutionalization and a new era of treatment. Institutions could no longer hold clients with mental illness indefinitely, and treatment in the “least restrictive environment” became a guiding principle and right. Large state hospitals emptied. Treatment in the community was intended to re-place much of state hospital inpatient care. Adequate funding, however, has not kept pace with the need for community programs and treatment
Today, people with mental illness receive treatment in a variety of set-tings.