21 April 2019

21st April 1990 - Mental Hospital Closures happening rapidly

In the British Medical Journal of the 21st April 1990 there was an article After the Asylums - What does Community Care mean now?

At the time the hospital closure programme was happening rapidly. The article said The National Schizophrenia Fellowship fellowship established that 30 mental hospitals closed between 1980 and 1989 and that a further 38, with 12 500 beds, were earmarked for closure before 1995. In 1954 the number of psychiatric beds peaked at 148,000 and the target was 47,900. About 64,000 remained at this point in time.

The article spoke about what community care was available. That the majority of community care was with relatives and friends and that this is not always the best option. In 1988, the National Schizophrenia Fellowship had 5000 appeals for help in such cases.

The article considered hostels as a better option in some cases but found it difficult to get good statistics on what was available. Hostels were run locally by so many different organisations such as the Richmond Fellowship, MIND, the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association and the Mental After Care Association. There were also private sector homes but many of these were for the elderly and not younger people.

The article concluded there was a great need to find what facilities were available by region and where more were still needed as the closure programme continued.

Thankyou to the BMJ for the date

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