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Who's in the lions' den?: The community's perception of community care for the mentally ill

  • Geoffrey Wolff (a1), Soumitra Pathare (a2), Tom Craig (a2) and Julian Left (a3)
Extract

Most long-stay patients discharged from psychiatric hospitals under community care policy are being accommodated in suburban communities. The communities' attitudes have a major bearing on the success of this policy. A census of perceptions of psychiatric services was conducted in two areas prior to the opening of long-stay supported houses for the mentally ill. Many respondents (37%) had a negative perception of psychiatric treatment in hospital. Most (82%) had heard of community care policy but few (29%) knew about the imminent opening of supported houses for the long-term mentally HI in their own street. Most respondents (66%) were against the closure of psychiatric hospitals and many saw It as a cost cutting exorcise. The majority agreed with the idea of long-stay patients being discharged into smaller units in the community although a substantial minority (20%) thought it would have a bad effect on the local community. An overwhelming majority of respondents (91%) thought it was important for local residents to be given information about new mental health facilities in their neighbourhood. Respondents were worried that patients would not get adequate support and that they might be dangerous. If community care policy is to succeed, attention needs to be paid to the community's opinions and desire for information about local services.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Dr Geoffrey Wolff, Clinical Scientist, MRC Centre in Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, DeCrespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF
References
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Cumming, E. & Cumming, J. (1957) Closed ranks – An Experiment in Mental Health Education. Harvard: Harvard University Press.
Dayson, D. (1993) The TAPS Project. 12: Crime, vagrancy. death and readmission of the long-term mentally ill during their first year of local reprovision. British Journal of Psychiatry, 162 (Suppl. 19), 4044.
Gatherer, A. & Reid, J. J. A. (1963) Public Attitudes and Mental Health Education. Northamptonshire Mental Health Project.
North East Thames & South East Thames Regional Health Authorities (1994) The Report of the Enquiry into the Care and Treatment of Christopher Clunis. ISBN 0 11 7017981.
Nunnally, J. (1961) Popular Conceptions of Mental Health: their Development and Change. New York: Holt Reinhart.
Taylor, M. S. & Dear, M. J. (1981) Scaling community attitudes toward the mentally ill. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 7(2), 225240.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Who's in the lions' den?: The community's perception of community care for the mentally ill

  • Geoffrey Wolff (a1), Soumitra Pathare (a2), Tom Craig (a2) and Julian Left (a3)
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