ERIC Number: ED303717
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
The Victimization of the Homeless Mentally Ill.
An indication of the failure of the mental health system in this country is reflected in the increasingly visible homeless population, many of whom suffer from some form of untreated mental illness. Public policy priorities have shifted from proactive, treatment-oriented policies to reactive, punitive institutionalization. The deinstitutionalization movement of the past 20 years has come full circle. The deinstitutionalization movement was a well-intentioned, progressive movement supportive of community-based, least restrictive alternatives to overcrowded institutions. Twenty years later the need exists to reassess the latent consequences of this process, especially those attributes which contribute to the "victimization" of these unserved clients left with little or no treatment resources other than the criminal justice system. The first and most important step in ameliorating these problems and building a responsible clinical network is to change the primary treatment criterion from the "least restrictive" to the clinically specific "most therapeutic" environment. While the ideal situation is to begin to implement a viable "child find" and subsequent early intervention and prevention programs, an effective method of treating the current "lost legion" of deinstitutionalized and never-served homeless mentally ill persons is needed. In the final analysis viable clinical and legal improvements can only come about when these changes are mandated through public policy and supported through the allocation of adequate resources. (ABL)
Publication Type: Reports - General; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (96th, Atlanta, GA, August 12-16, 1988).