From a group meeting in one room at Friern Hospital, the annual conferences of TAPS (Team for the Assessment of Psychiatric Services) have grown after ten years to overflowing a large hall, with participants from many countries. Dr Rachel Jenkins of the Department of Health, in introducing the meeting, emphasised that mental illness now had a central place in national health targets. The reduction of suicide was a special objective, particularly as it is now estimated that one in six of the severely mentally ill eventually kill themselves. She pointed out that although this conference was focused on deinstitutionalisation, there had been very little research on why such major national differences in this process had occurred.
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