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THE NEW CHALLENGE IN MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE

JAMA. 1966;196(4):361. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100170103036.
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Admission and discharge trends in public mental L hospitals are beginning to present a fairly consistent picture of more extensive releases, shorter hospitalizations, and marked rise in readmissions. A communication in the April issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry1 concluded that the problem of chronic hospitalization is gradually giving way to a pattern of intermittent hospitalization for the mental patient. These results are consistent with findings in England and Wales from 1954 to 1959, which indicate an increased demand for short- and medium-stay beds and a rapid decline in demand for long-stay beds.2

One of the challenges to mental health professionals in the coming decade is suggested by this trend. Mental hospitals have reduced their resident-patient populations because they have speeded up the treatment process, and more patients are treated by reducing the total length of time a given patient will occupy a bed. However, most hospitals

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