State hospitals were once the most prominent components of U.S. public mental health systems. But a major focus of mental health policy over the past fifty years has been to close these facilities. These efforts led to a 95 percent reduction in the country's state hospital population. However, more than 200 state hospitals remain open, serving a declining but challenging patient population. Using national and state-level data, this paper discusses the contemporary public mental hospital, the forces shaping its use, the challenges it faces, and its possible future role in the larger mental health system.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jeffrey_geller/72/