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Fifty Years of Failing America's Mentally Ill

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At www.realclearpolitics.com

On Feb. 5, 1963, 50 years ago this week, President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress on 'Mental Illness and Mental Retardation.' He proposed a new program under which the federal government would fund community mental-health centers, or CMHCs, to take the place of state mental hospitals. As Kennedy envisioned it, 'reliance on the cold mercy of custodial isolations will be supplanted by the open warmth of community concern and capability.' President Kennedy's proposal was historic because the public care of mentally ill individuals had been exclusively a state responsibility for more than a century. The federal initiative encouraged the closing of state hospitals and aborted the development of state-funded outpatient clinics in process at that time.

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At www.realclearpolitics.com


 

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