Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

"Reagan shut down all the insane asylums, creating the homeless problem"

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (Through 2005) Donate to DU
 
UdoKier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:35 PM
Original message
"Reagan shut down all the insane asylums, creating the homeless problem"
I've always believed this to be true since the 80s - even my yellow dog democrat dad told me this. It fits nicely with the massive increase in homelessness that occurred in the 80s, but I wonder how much basis this has in fact, and if there is any good documentation?

Was it just cuts in mental health services through the VA, or was there really a massive shutdown of mental institutions under old Red-Ink?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DODI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
1. I know they shut down a couple in CT at that time.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
demigoddess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
2. They had an idea that these people could be handled 'in the
community' rather than hospitals and it would be cheaper. (always cutting the little guy) so they urged people against commitment and toward medicating and sending home. There was a rash of rather unfortunate incidents afterward of people who should have hospital care and instead were living without medication and on the streets. No urban legend.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
PsN2Wind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
3. If I remember right
he turned many out of mental institutions as Governor of California. Also paid no state taxes because of losses on his cattle ranch.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Sanity Claws Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:41 PM
Response to Original message
4. There was massive shutdown
but the reasons are hazy in my mind. I do recall that the ACLU filed suits regarding the civil rights of people who were in institutions. Many people did not belong there -- as long as they had their meds, they posed no harm to themselves or others. These suits were used as an excuse to open the doors and force people out who had no place to go. There were insufficient halfway houses to help these people get the meds they needed to function in the outside world.
It was a very sad time.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:41 PM
Response to Original message
5. Yes, it was called "deinstitutionalization"
another case of depriving care to those in need
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Zen Democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:43 PM
Response to Original message
6. It's true. He shut them down in Calif. as Gov. then moved to the big-time
and put tens of thousands of mentally ill people out on the streets by curtailing federal funds to the institutions. The money went to the defense contractors.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
politicaholic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:44 PM
Response to Original message
7. I think there were layers to what he did...
I don't have the evidence at my finger tips, but I remember that he changed some mental illness's status so that they weren't eligible for federal assistance.

And yes, he did cut some of the federal budget for state run institutions forcing states to pony up more, which they didn't.

Ronald Reagan was one of the worst presidents in the 20th century, I can't figure out for the life of me why people loved that lying treasonous dick wad so much.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
KansDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:44 PM
Response to Original message
8. I know many librarians who work at public libraries...
Edited on Wed Jun-01-05 09:56 PM by KansDem
The longest-working librarians, those who have been working in this field since the 1960s and 1970s, have all claimed the homeless population exploded in the 1980s when Reagan closed the mental-health facilities.

And if anyone should know, it would be a public librarian who has worked since that time...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DawgHouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:53 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. My friend is a family services psychologist in Florida
and she gets positively livid when discussing how mental health services for the poor began to suffer under Reagan. And she's been around long enough to have seen it all first hand.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mcscajun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:44 PM
Response to Original message
9. He didn't shut anything down directly...
Edited on Wed Jun-01-05 09:45 PM by mcscajun
...and all of the homeless are not mentally ill. There are many reasons for homelessness, especially these days, when most of the homeless are children.

BUT...Reagan did have a lot to answer for with regards to the mentally ill. See the following for a discussion of his social services cuts and their impact on the mentally ill:

http://www.sociology.org/content/vol003.004/thomas_d.ht...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:48 PM
Response to Original message
10. Sorry, people are homeless because they want to be homeless...
...haven't you learned anything about tinkle down economics? An besides, homelessness in only a problem because faith based initiative entrepreneurs have not fully realized the potential of finding and capitalizing on the opportunities of the homeless markets. In supply-side economic theory this would be termed "not yet reaching equilibrium" between the supply of homeless persons and the demand for their complete eradication. George Bush's economic policies may speed this along by creating a whole new segment called the homeless middle class who offer a marginal incremental opportunity depending on the extent of gold teeth they have. :sarcasm: :rant:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MichiganVote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:49 PM
Original message
Largest percentage of homeless in US are children
Actually the percentage of those who utilized inpatient mental health services were either provided scant casemanagement services to get section 8 housing or became a part of a group home. Reagans idea was lousy but it did not then or now account for the largest portion of those who are presently homeless.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
11. Only partially true
Edited on Wed Jun-01-05 09:50 PM by proud2Blib
The idea of shutting down mental institutions actually came about in the 60s. Then it gathered steam in the 70s. Geraldo did an expose report (I believe he won an emmy for it) on deplorable institutions for the mentally retarded in NY in the late 70s. So the idea of shutting down these institutions was not Reagan's.

You need to remember that prior to about 30 years ago, it was common for families who could afford it to institutionize their family members with retardation or mental illnesses. There were also no laws mandating special education for kids with these disabilities. So often the best place for the mentally disabled was in an institution. Then in 1974, special ed programs were mandated by federal law. That is when (to my recollection) we began to 'mainstream' persons with mental disabilities into our society.

So state mental institutions were cut during Reagan's term but we can't really credit him with the idea. Another thing that is often forgotten in this argument is that the funding for these institutions was redirected back to local communities. The county where I live added funding and we have superior services for persons with mental disabilities. There are no homeless persons on the streets in my county. So I think it is more fair to blame your local city and county govts for dropping the ball in meeting the needs of the mentally ill than to blame Reagan.

And I am not a Reagan fan at all. There are still plenty of evils to blame him for.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
legally blonde Donating Member (747 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 09:54 PM
Response to Original message
13. I'm by no means an expert in this area
but I did a seminar paper last semester that touched on mental illness and homelessness (the main topic of my paper was the insanity defense in the UK and the US).

Beginning in the 60s and 70s, mental hospitals began to phase out their programs, with the intent of using resources for community-based programs. In theory, it was a good idea, however, it was poorly implemented and many people fell through the cracks. When Reagan took office, he cut funding for mental hospitals, forcing them to shut down. Patients ended up on the streets. In some cities, up to 50% of the homeless are mentally ill.

With the increased number of mentally instable persons without employment, medical treatment, and housing, many ended up in the prison system after having committed petty crimes (such as loitering, stealing, vagrancy, etc.). Unfortunately, the prison system has become the new mental hospital, except that prison guards are not trained to deal with such persons and prison hospitals are inadequately equipped as it is. I've read figures indicating that up to 25% of the prison population is mentally ill.

It's a big problem with no end in sight.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jaxx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 10:06 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. When the mental institutions closed, the words street people became a
common. The patients had, for the most part, no place to go. So they hit the streets with their grocery carts and grouped to get by in the world that rejected them. We'll see this happening again if the medicaid cuts go through. This time the people with mental retardation will be hit........along with the poor and disabled in all ways. Those without families will be forced to try to make it on their own. Don't let them fool you about the social programs out there to stop this happening..........they depend on fed/state funds too, to be able to exist. This is the final insult to the people of America........the kicking out of the ones who are most in need.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
patricia92243 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-01-05 10:17 PM
Response to Original message
15. I'm not sure about actually shutting down, but I know a person can only st
stay for 3 day in an institution in NC. I don't know how a person gets to stay longer and get treatment.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sat Dec 27th 2014, 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (Through 2005) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC