It’s Groundhog Day for the Mentally Ill in the United States

Art by Rob Goldstein

Art by Rob Goldstein Judas Kiss

I discovered an essay in the Los Angeles Times while doing research for a recent post on mental illness and euthanasia.

The essay is dated 1987.

No mental health month is complete without pointing out that our media noticed the failure of deinstitutionalization decades ago. Read on:

Many of the people living on Los Angeles’ streets lack health as well as homes. They were put there by social policy, legacies of the mid-1960s when California was a laboratory for reform–and they sit there as another reminder of reform gone awry.

In 1967 the California Legislature passed the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS) which changed the state’s mental-commitment laws to limit involuntary detention of all but the most gravely mentally ill and to provide a “patients bill of rights” regarding treatment.

With the help of conservative Republican Assemblyman Frank Lanterman of La Canada (who liked to tell the American Civil Liberties…

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