Deinstitutionalization of the Mentally Ill

In the United States there is a significant amount of elderly people who are mentally ill. These individuals though have been community settings and alternatives forms of a community setting.   In Tampa, Florida these use of the alternatives have helped elderly folks to get back to communities. For instance the Gulf Jewish Gulf Family and Mental Health Services Inc, has implemented a model continuum of community-based mental health services which provides elderly residents of the Hillsborough-Pasco-Pinellas tri-county area alternatives to institutionalization. Close to 2 million individuals live in this tri county area, and 21% of them are elderly individuals.   The deinstitutionalized individuals are placed in foster homes or nursing homes and support is given to care takers in the community.

A   significant number of seriously mentally ill elders have been transferred to a variety of community settings as an alternative to the more restrictive and expensive state mental hospital setting. Despite the initial psychiatric diagnosis, more than 91% of these elders have been successfully taken care of in less-restrictive community settings. The success of this unique and cost-effective community-based continuum suggests the need for greater emphasis on the start of such programming in the United States for the most neglected and growing population. Programs such as these have resulted in improved quality of life for the clients, increased participation by family members, have saved the taxpayers money, and have brought business to the local community


Bernstein, Michael A; Hensley, Raymond. Journal of Mental Health Administration

“Developing community-based program alternatives for the seriously and persistently mentally ill elderly”