Women's Mental Health Project

By: Gia Cipolla and Gabrielle LoGrande


The main idea of the solution to mental illnesses are evolving.

A Solution Now Looks Crazy by: The New York Times

In the 1950's, a little more than half a million psychiatric patients lived in mental hospitals. Dr. Torrey helped start the National Institute of Mental Health which closed the state mental hospitals, initiated a federal takeover of the mental health system, and created a nationwide network of community health centers. The reform was underway in 1963. Half a million Americans were deinstitutionalized over the past 50 years, but itself was not a problem. These large centers weren't treating the people with severe illnesses but people known as the worried well, which are people with social maladjustment or no mental disorder. People who were deinstitutionalized ended up in jails, prisons, nursing homes, or homeless and one third of homeless people have a serious mental illness. Four percent of violence in the United States has to do with mental illness. The majority of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric illness.

A History of Treatment for Mental Illness by: The Washington Post

19th Century: The legal standard only requires the presence of mental illness and a doctors recommendation to prove that hospilization is necessary.

Early 20th Century: By 1953, the number of Americans in psychiatric institutions swells to a high of 559,00.

Mid- 20th Century: In 1963, The Community Mental Health Centers Act, helped in the process of beginning deinstitutionalization begins. The number of psychiatric inpatients declined rapidly due to the closing of stat-run hospitals.

Later 20th Century: In 1975 the Supreme Court decided that the state cannot restrict a "non-dangerous individual" who is capable of surviving on their own or with others.

IU study: 'Backbone' of Mental Ilness Stigma Common in 16 Countries Studies by: Mental Health Weekly Digest

There was an international study found that despite widespread acceptance that mental illness is a disease that can be effectively treated. Indiana University sociologists who led the study, spanned the 16 diverse countries examined. There was a Mental Health Study which talked with 19,508 study participants about customized vignettes. These vignettes portrayed someone suffering either depression, schizophrenia or, the control group, asthma. There was a diverse range geographically, developmentally, and politically that the countries represented. Stigma is considered a major obstacle to effective treatment for many Americans who have these illnesses. It can produce discrimination in employment, housing, medical care, and social relationships. It also has a negative impact on these individuals and the people around them.