Out of the Shadows: Confronting America's Mental Illness Crisis / Edition 1by E. Fuller Torrey
Pub. Date: 10/28/1996
There are the ones we try not to notice. Filthy and disoriented, they wander the streets and back alleys of America, a danger to themselves and often to the communities they haunt. Then there are the millions more we don't see, the ones who suffer behind closed doors for years, a burden only to themselves and their loved ones. Many of these end up committing suicide, or worse. There are also the tens of thousands who are currently being "warehoused" in our jails, and because of their inability to comply with even the most rudimentary codes of conduct, many receive cruel, sometimes fatal, treatment from other inmates and exasperated jail officials. And, finally, there are those who, because they are not being treated, explode with senseless violence, destroying lives, and leaving the rest of us angry, perplexed, and a little less certain about our own safety. They are our five million mentally ill, and try as we might to sweep them under the rug, they represent human tragedies and a major social problem that continues to grow in magnitude.
Now, in this hard-hitting and humane exploration of the mental illness crisis in America, psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey reveals how we have failed our mentally ill and offers a viable, provocative blueprint for change.
Torrey begins by examining the consequences of our current mental illness policies on homelessness, our penal system, and the spread of violence in America. He then explores the economic, ideological, and legal reasons why, even though billions of tax dollars are spent each year on the mentally ill, they continue to receive less-than-adequate care. And finally, he proposes a three-phase approach to correcting the situation,including: cost-shifting to states as single-responsibility funders of treatment programs; commitment and involuntary treatment for those deemed incapable of making decisions for themselves; and divorcing, both ideologically and economically, serious mental illness (schizophrenia, manic-depressive illness, and other brain-based disorders) from mental health (the "worried well," and people suffering from quality-of-life and emotional problems).
Out of the Shadows is a fact-filled, compellingly argued, and compassionate assessment of mental illness in America: where we are, how we got there, and where we should be going. It is essential reading for healers, policymakers, and the millions of families whose lives have been touched by serious mental illness.
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Table of Contents
Nowhere to Go: Homelessness and Mental Illness.
Jails and Prisons.
Walking Time Bombs: Violence and the Mentally Ill.
Psychiatric Ghettos: Communities and Families.
Looking Backward: Where We Have Been.
New Initiatives in Funding.
From Legal Folly to Common Sense: The Right to Get Well.
From the Woody Allen Syndrome to Brain Disease.
Looking Forward: Where We Should Be Going.
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