A few days ago was the 49th anniversary of American Community Mental Health. On Halloween of 1963, president John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Centers Act into law and for the first time affordable mental health services were made available across the country. The law also made possible the deinstitionalization movement which moved the vast majority of state hospital patients back to their home communities for treatment and support.
One apocryphal story* is that once a congressman asked an official at the Nation Institute of Mental Health, “How did the community mental health system contribute to the national defense? He supposedly answered, “It’s one of the things that makes the nation worth defending.”
I believe that everyone involved in the community mental health system should be very proud of the millions of people who’s quality of life have been improved over the last half-century.
*This story is also told about Fermilab