Improving the American Mental Health System Requires Accurate History

August 20, 2014 2:25 PM

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Allen Frances (The Huffington Post August 7, 2014) claims that the American mental health system is worse now than ever before. He and other critics who share this view are wrong. Today's system is undoubtedly inadequate in many ways -- but it is better than it was when the transition to community mental health policy took place. It's important to recognize this because inaccurate history is not a good guide for making the current system better.

Over the past five decades, changes in mental health policy have enabled millions of people to lead far better lives. If this is not apparent it is because the failures of community mental health policy -- the terrible plight of the homeless and incarcerated -- are heartbreaking and visible, but the...

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