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Nowhere to Go: The Tragic Odyssey of the Homeless Mentally Ill Paperback – August, 1989

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Millions of homeless people roam the streets of America, and the consensus is that one-third of them suffers severe mental disturbance. In a "powerful, stinging expose," Torrey diagnoses this national tragedy, faulting psychiatrists, civil-liberties lawyers, the National Institute of Mental Health et al. "No other book has dealt with this crisis so thoroughly," remarked PW.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

The title is deceiving because it implies that this work is about the daily plight of the homeless mentally ill. Instead, the book centers on the reason for their plight, arguing that the closing of mental hospitals, the exodus of mental health workers into private practice, and the failure of the community mental health centers have forced many severely ill mental patients out on the streets. Though the book effectively demonstrates how the mental health establishment in the United States has failed to provide adequate care for severely ill patients, it assumes that the majority of the homeless are mentally ill without presenting evidence that this is the case. For college and research libraries. Kim Banks, Columbia Univ. Libs., New York
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins (August 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060915978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060915971
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,954,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on October 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Edwin Fuller Torrey (born 1937), is an American psychiatrist, who has written many books, such as Out of the Shadows: Confronting America's Mental Illness Crisis, Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Patients, and Providers, Surviving Manic Depression, etc. He wrote in the Preface to this 1988 book, "I thought of what Mike Gorman... had told me: 'No matter how bad it is for those people on the streets, it's better than it was in the hospital.' Are those really the only choices we have for individuals who cannot care for themselves---the brutality of the hospitals or the brutality of the streets? Is this the best we can do in the wealthiest nation in the world?... Writing this book has taken me on wild swings between anger and sadness. It has brought back memories ... of five years working at the National Institute of Mental Health when it was claimed that all things were possible. How could things have gone so wrong?... how can we explain our mistakes to the people who have paid such a terrible price for them?" (Pg. xiv)

He states in the first chapter, "'Broken promises' is in fact the motto of America's psychiatric establishment for the past forty years. The professionals promised to improve the lot of the seriously mentally ill, abused and neglected in the nation's asylums. Deinstitutionalization it would be called... So what happened? ...
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Format: Hardcover
The title of the book says it all. Nowhere to go, the homeless mentally ill have drifted in and out of hospitals since deinstitutionalization. And the problem is getting worse in many states, not better. When Fuller Torrey wrote this desperate plea, he wanted society to see the plight of the chronically mentally ill. Today many persons want to forget that the mentally ill need supportive homes, as do those with advanced Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Maybe those with schizophrenia or severe manic depression have not been able to contribute as much to the workings of our modern day society, but they need nursing care as Fuller Torrey outlines in this book. Why won't we as a society see this, he asks? He himself was confronted with the tragedy of mental illness within his own family, so he understands the level of care that is needed to do the job right. A classic discussion that I recommend for any public or private library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A book that should be read by all! This book hit home because of personal situation.
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