Evidence shows that people living with mental illness are best served in supportive communities. The importance of community integration to the recovery of people with serious mental illnesses has been endorsed by such experts as the Office of the Surgeon General (in its 1999 report, “Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General”) and by the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health in its 2003 report.
Recovery comes from living in small, integrated community settings with individualized supports, not from institutionalization. We want this reality for every person who currently is in a state hospital…”
- Judy Banks, deputy director of the Disability Rights Network of PA (DRN)
MHAPA works closely with other mental health advocates across the state to successfully close state hospitals, move people into supportive communities, and help people with mental illness live surrounded by the help and resources they need.
Benefits of Community Integration
The recent closings of three state hospitals shine as examples of the benefits of community integration.
- In December 2008, Mayview State Hospital (MHS) closed, discharging individuals from Allegheny, Beaver, Lawrence, and Washington Counties to their communities, where they continue to receive regular, individualized, tailored supports around behavioral health, housing, employment, education, social activities, and physical health. A year later, a majority of those discharged into the community continue to reside in community-based residences.
- Harrisburg State Hospital (HSH) closed in January 2006, with 187 of the 289 discharged individuals moving into the community. In a report issued one year later, the overwhelming majority of these residents remained in their communities thanks to ongoing, community-based care and services.
- In 1990 Philadelphia State Hospital (PSH) closed its doors. Five years later, a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that the overwhelming majority of those released at closure were living successfully in the community.
Hear stories of recovery and resiliency from people who now live in their communities.