Journal article Open Access

The discontinuation and closure of longterm state level psychiatric units

Guttman, Maxwell

This constructivist grounded paper is a long overdue proposal to close all ‘extended-care’ state level wards and discharge all remaining patients to a lower level of care. From long-term care and extended service units to admissions and adult, children, and adolescent services provided by inpatient treatment wards, this is a call for the complete discontinuation of long-term state level care units in state-level treatment centres in the US through the commission, implementation, and commission of Ward Closure Team (WCTs). Without question, society has arrived at a crossroad in determining the future of mental health treatment. Consumers and practitioners acknowledge that the current mental health system does not address gaps in mental health care and treatment. Instead, the system is still informed by the era of institutionalisation and does not facilitate access to services at the local level where the potential need for connectivity and person-centred care is greatest. This dispenses a new term in being: WCTs’ and marshals’ new recommendations to challenge the ongoing denial of full community access to mental health care in the US. Aiming to disrupt the increasingly insidious neo-institutionalisation, this paper intends to make visible the theory that access to mental health treatment should be the first priority in addressing the mental health crisis at stake for consumers who have historically fallen through the cracks of the system.

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