05 February 2019

5th February 1963 - Start of the End of Large Mental Institutions.

On February 5, 1963 , President Kennedy announced a "bold new approach" to intellectual disability in a special Congressional address on mental illness and mental retardation. He outlined recommendations, including initiatives to move away from "care institutions" to community-focused care.

The Kennedy family had a personal relationship with this issue; President  Kennedy's sister, sixteen months younger, was born with intellectual disabilities.

The rate of institutionalisation had exploded over the last half-century. President Kennedy said: "There are currently around 800,000 such patients in this country - 600,000 in the case of mental illness and over 200,000 in the case of mental retardation."

The legislation regarding maternal and infant health and mental retardation and the act on the community mental health centre was passed during the year.

The act was a significant change in federal policy. It began the closure of large institutions that gained momentum during the Reagan presidency.
Thankyou to Today in Psychology History for the date.

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