Each year about 325,000 persons are admitted as patients to public mental hospitals in the United States. Less than half are first admissions; 175,000 are readmissions. And each year about 310,000 patients leave the public mental hospitals. They undertake the hazards of living again, as ex-patients, in the community. More than half will return, at some time, to hospital. The highest proportion will return within the first year after release.
Mental health workers, planners, and administrators hold that many more ex-patients would sustain community tenure if appropriate follow-up aftercare services were available to them. But no one is sure to what extent this is so. This studies aspects of the aftercare problems of over 10,000 patients released from public mental hospitals. It highlights major aftercare service needs of released patients, the availability of aftercare services, the utilization of these services by ex-patients, and the relationship between utilization of services and community tenure.
The study provides answers to the following questions: 1. What are the specific aftercare needs of released patients? 2. To what extent are aftercare services available? 3. To what degree do ex-patients utilize aftercare services? 4. Does utilization affect community tenure?
This book is divided into two parts. Part I reports major statewide findings and interpretations. Part II focuses on background, methodology, and data specifically applicable to planning regions and service areas within the state. Readers interested primarily in the broad overview of aftercare will find Part I useful in itself. For those interested, in addition, in the planning process technique of assessment, comparative data and analysis, Part II will be a helpful supplement.
Max Silverstein was Professor of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania.
"Useful information for mental health workers involved in planning, developing and providing aftercare services, including vocational rehabilitation, for mental health patients."—Journal of Rehabilitation
"This is a valuable study which suggests that some of the vigorous programs in community psychiatry are coming full circle back to the usual practice of psychiatry."—Archives of General Psychiatry
"It is enormously useful in the everyday work of this association and should serve as a valuable reference book for everyone concerned with mental hospital practice. It is a monumental research endeavor which ahs produced a great deal of practical information that can be applied."—Walter E. Barton, M.D. Medical Director, American Psychiatric Association