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Out of the Shadows: Confronting America's Mental Illness Crisis Paperback – February 26, 1998
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E. Fuller Torrey excoriates the way the mentally ill are treated in this country. His polemic against the concept of "deinstitutionalization" takes us on a grim tour of the lives led by the mentally ill: untreated, homeless, jobless, and helpless against street violence. Torrey argues that the criteria for involuntary commitment should include the need for treatment. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
The crisis, simply put, is that 2.2 million of the estimated 5.6 million Americans with serious mental illness are not being treated. Instead, these ``walking time bombs'' are often homeless in the community or incarcerated in prisons. Torrey, a clinical research psychiatrist, explores how this situation came to be and offers some radical proposals for remedying it. Torrey (Nowhere To Go, 1988; Freudian Fraud, 1992, etc.) notes that for the majority of people with severe mental disorders treatments to effectively control their symptoms are already available, and with research, better ones would surely be found. To that end, he urges formation of a National Brain Research Institute. Meanwhile, however, Torrey sees much that can be done to provide humane and cost-effective services for the severely mentally ill. With numerous anecdotes and impressive statistics, he builds a dismaying picture of society's failure to care for the mentally ill. He then argues for major ideological, economic, and legal changes, as well as a change in how we think about serious mental illnesses. Too often they are seen as occupying one end of the spectrum of mental health, linked to social reform and liberal causes and thus highly politicized. Torrey asserts that when serious mental illnesses are properly viewed as neurological disorders of the brain, research funding, treatment resources, and professional expertise can be more readily obtained. To eliminate cost-shifting between levels of government, which he sees as the primary cause of the present situation, he would make the states responsible for providing services and accountable for treatment outcomes, with the federal government providing block grants. While these proposals may arouse polite debate, the legal remedies he calls for- -changing the laws to permit involuntary treatment, including involuntary commitment to hospitals--raise some very troubling images and are likely to elicit loud objections. Controversial ideas, forcefully presented. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
He says, "The mental illness crisis, then, has not occurred because we do not have effective treatments. Rather, it exists because we do not use these treatments." (Pg. 6) He explains, "What percentage of the total homeless population is mentally ill? If the definition of 'mentally ill' includes alcohol and drug addictions, then ... 75 percent or more of the homeless are mentally ill. If, however, only severe mental illness is the criterion... approximately 35 percent of homeless persons qualify." (Pg.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting and thorough history of deinstitutionalisation.Published 10 months ago by Laurence Bacchus
Torrey is certainly correct that the large number of mentally ill persons who are homeless or jailed rather than receiving effective treatment is yet another shameful failure of... Read morePublished on February 8, 2008 by David Ross
This book speaks to the heart of the latest mental health issues...homelessness being one of them.
I have much respect for this professional who is not afraid to get his... Read more