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December 19, 1980

State Mental Hospitals: Problems and Potentials

Author Affiliations

Center for Forensic Psychiatry Ann Arbor, Mich


edited by John A. Talbott, 219 pp, with illus, $16.95, New York, Human Sciences Press, 1980.

JAMA. 1980;244(24):2771. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310240063038

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


State hospitals, once the primary source of treatment for seriously mentally ill patients, are changing their roles and responsibilities, as community hospitals and community mental health services are established and made functional. The impetus for deinstitutionalization is both humane and financial. It appears that long-term institutionalization adds additional burdens to the mentally ill patient, and it is thought that community treatment is more cost-effective. As the state hospitals empty out, there remain a variety of options, including destruction or conversion of facilities, or maintaining state hospitals as small, tertiary care institutions. States have adopted various plans with measured degrees of success.

This small volume is a potpourri that provides an overview of the problems encountered by state mental hospitals and describes in detail specific state hospitals at discrete stages of evolution, future roles for state hospitals, and the relationship of state hospitals and universities.

Personally, I found this small volume