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Friday, March 30, 2018

Trump Wants More Asylums — and Some Psychiatrists Agree

Benedict Carey
The New York Times
Originally published March 5, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

The third, and perhaps most critical, point of agreement in the asylum debate is that money is lacking in a nation that puts mental health at the bottom of the health budget. These disorders are expensive to treat in any setting, and funds for hospital care and community supports often come out of the same budget.

In his paper arguing for the return of asylums, Dr. Sisti singled out the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital in Massachusetts.

This $300 million state hospital, opened in 2012, has an annual budget of $80 million, 320 private rooms, a range of medical treatments and nonmedical supports, like family and group therapy, and vocational training. Its progress is closely watched among mental health experts.

The average length of stay for adolescents is 28 days, and the average for continuing care (for the more serious cases) is 85 days, according to Daniela Trammell, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.

“Some individuals are hospitalized for nine months to a year; a smaller number is hospitalized for one to three years,” she wrote in an email.

Proponents of modern asylums insist that this kind of money is well spent, considering the alternatives for people with mental disabilities in prison or on the streets. Opponents are not convinced.

The article is here.