Readmissions to mental hospitals are often cited as evidence of the failure of the contemporary mental health system. This essay proposes a different interpretation of readmissions. Building on fieldwork and participant observation methods, the authors argue that the 'veteran' patient is less a victim of poor psychiatric care and misdirected reform than he is a citizen with few personal resources, using public services to cope with the exigencies of life. Lacking family, job, and income, the ex-patient incorporates the hospital and other 'therapeutic stations' into a resource pool upon which he or she can call when the need arises. The essay also discusses the implications of these findings for assessments of the community mental health movement.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science