The massive depopulation of state mental hospitals in the 1950s (known as "deinstitutionalization") posed special challenges to mental health consumers in need of intensive psychiatric treatment. No longer confined to long-term inpatient psychiatric wards, consumers were thrust into nursing homes, assisted living centers, and onto the streets. Psychiatric treatment was relocated to the community, and the concept of recovery took on a new meaning.
Classics in Community Psychiatry is the first volume to examine the course of the community psychiatry movement over the past fifty years. Starting with deinstitutionalization, the editors chart the progress and setbacks of the movement by presenting carefully selected primary source material from the realms of academia, politics, and even literature. For example, a classic journal article explores the relationship between social class and mental health, while excerpts from government
documents describe mental health legislation. A novel demonstrates social attitudes toward the mentally ill, while a report from a federally funded task force discusses homelessness and severe mental illness. Each selection pinpoints a specific issue and moment of time during the history of mental health
services over the past five decades, and is accompanied by insightful commentary from the volume's editors. The result is a unique, innovatively conceived book that incorporates many different viewpoints to illustrate the evolution of community psychiatry, as well as the need to devote more resources and planning to mental health services looking ahead. Classic in Community Psychiatry will be a valuable resource for mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists,
social workers, administrators, and policymakers, and for graduate and undergraduate students in community psychology and psychiatry.