Saturday, August 02, 2003


Demagogue links to this shockingly reasonable article by Rich Lowry about the mentally ill.

Demagogue's a bit hard on liberals being at fault here, I think. It is true that the deinstitutionalization movement was a liberal movement, but it wasn't supposed to stop there. The idea was that many mentally ill patients had been locked up and abandoned in horrific and, yes, expensive institutions instead of receiving any kind of proper treatment and without any attempt to provide them with anything resembling a "normal life." Deinstitutionalization was supposed to be accompanied by group homes, etc... with the patients still having very monitored existences, though with at least one foot in the "real world."

Of course, Republicans (cough Reagan cough) seized on this as a cost-saving measure, closed the public institutions, and the money for other types of care never materialized.

While misguided liberal notions are presumably behind the difficiulties people face in obtaining such things as involuntary commitment papers, as with many things that's only part of the story. From what I've seen, the core reason is often simply a lack of money, with other things being simply excuses.