Revisionist History, Mental Health Patients and Ronald Reagan :
With the recent Arizona shootings by a mentally deranged person, the revisionist history of Ronald Reagan and his so called "closing down the mental health system" during his reign as governor in California has popped up again. The real story is Reagan had not turned from the dark side when he was governor, and instituted the changes in the mental health system at the behest of progressive reformers of the time.
The blaming of Ronald Reagan for the destruction the mental heath system is **typical progressive revisionists history.** By the late 1960s, the idea that the mentally ill were not so different from the rest of us, or perhaps were even a little bit more sane, became trendy. Reformers dreamed of taking the mentally ill out of the large institutions and housing them in smaller, community-based residences where they could live more productive and fulfilling lives. ***Simultaneously, the [ ACLU ] was pushing a mental health patients right agenda that resulted in O’Connor v. Donaldson*** (see below) In 1967, Gov. Ronald Reagan signed the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (LPS), which went into effect in 1969 and quickly became a national model.** Among other things, it prohibited forced medication or extended hospital stays without a judicial hearing. The Governor signed a bill inspired by those who clamored for the "civil rights" of the mentally ill to be on the street and who claimed they'd be better off with community counseling.**
So no, Reagan, didn't close mental hospitals or put anyone on the street. [[ Progressive views on mental health, a misguided ACLU, and politicians who "know better" did it.]] Then finally (the last year Reagan was governor), O’Connor v. Donaldson, 422 U.S. 563 (1975), the Supreme Court found a constitutional right to liberty for mental health patients: "There is...no constitutional basis for confining such persons involuntarily if they are dangerous to no one." With this constitutional recognition, the practice of mental health law became a process of limiting and defining the power of the state to detain and treat. The result was a codification of mental health rights that have done away with non-voluntary commitment except in extreme cases.
??? Oh, and what happened to the promised Mental Health clinics to aid mental health out patients? They built them and they did not come. Who would have thought that unsupervised mental health patients would make poor life decisions and not utilize the support system that was built for them? Or, a better question is, who in their right mind thought they would ???