Peace of mind with community-based care

Philadelphia Inquirer Opinion Letter, January 25, 2015


Peace of mind with community-based care

As someone who was locked up in a state hospital and lived to tell the tale, I was stunned by a journal article by three Penn ethicists that called for a return to the psychiatric facilities that I have spent the last 30 years working to close ("Penn ethicists advocate return of mental asylums," Dec. 21). Studies have shown that individuals with even the most serious conditions can be treated in the community much more effectively, and at a much lower cost.

When Philadelphia State Hospital was shut down after an investigation of abuse and neglect, the hospital budget helped create a community-based system to serve those released and those who might have been served there. Six years later, a study found that the overwhelming majority of those released were living successfully in the community.

The days of finding an oasis of "safety, sanctuary, and healing" - as the journal authors put it - within the walls of an asylum are over. We need more community-based services, not more asylums.

|Joseph Rogers, Chief Advocacy Officer, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia