Book Definition: An effort to deinstituionalize mental patients and to provide therapy from outpatient clinics. Proponents of community mental health envisioned that recovering patients could live with their families, in foster homes, or in group homes.

History (Optional)


In the 50's, practices of releasing patients from mental hospitals began. This movement was developed to develop community based care to treat mental illness. It suggested that communities would pick up the burdens of the mentally afflicted by paying for their problems. The committee's goals were the preservation of mental health, prevention of psychiatric disorders, and improvement of care, among others. Unfortunately, deinstitutionalization led to many homeless mentally ill on the streets.

In Your Own Words


  • A way to release recovering mental patients so they can live with their families, in foster homes, or in group homes and still receive treatment.
  • A patient can still receive treatment without having to stay in a hospital.
  • Part of the deinstituionalization movement; generally succesful in patients who are in the proper environment, but for many these conditions are not met and the movement has led to a very high percentage of homeless people having classifiable mental health problems.
  • The community mental health movement started with the purpose of providing services to help people with the day to day problems of their disorders; however, the movement was not successful, as most patients were released into the "care" of unsupportive or nonexistent family members, and, without proper monitoring, their problems worsened, leading to poverty, homelessness,addictions to drugs and alcohol, further mental deterioration, and repeat hospitalizations.

Examples/Functions


  • A nursing home for recovering patients with mental disorders as to not send them into a relapse of the disorder.
  • One bad thing about the movement is that many people in the communities didnt know how to cope with the people nor do they have the resources needed to help these people, which ended up leaving many of the former patients homeless and on the streets.
  • Similar to an apartment complex where people can live as individuals but still recieve treatment.
  • Sending patients to live with loved ones while they were prescribed drugs.

Additional Resources


  1. http://www.janpols.net/Chapter-2/3.3.html
  2. http://psychservices.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/27/4/258