This resource was approved by the SMI Adviser clinical expert team for inclusion in the knowledge base.
In spite of efforts to improve mental health systems of care, for many decades those living with mental illness have suffered devastating proportions of mistreatment. Deprived of adequate care, appropriate supports, dignity and freedom, their capacity to achieve and maintain recovery has been severely impaired. Overcrowded state hospitals and attempts to honor the civil rights of their occupants led to deinstitutionalization; the overwhelmed, inadequately funded and poorly conceptualized community-based treatment that followed resulted in limited or no access to care. To this day, insufficient and disorganized resources contribute to decompensation, hospital recidivism and dispositions that put people on the trajectory into the criminal justice system.