Synopses & Reviews
Community Life for the Mentally Ill presents a social innovative experiment aimed at providing new and more participating social positions in American society for mental patients. It presents the events that occurred when a courageous group of former chronic mental patients abruptly left a hospital and established their own autonomous sub-society in a large, metropolitan area.
In order to complete this experiment, the patients created a small society in the community where discharged patients could live and work. Others evaluated the effects of the newly created society upon the behavior and perceptions of its members, which is also presented here. Both the descriptive and comparative aspects of this study are presented as they occurred in real life. The book is concerned with the medical, economic, sociological, and psychological facets of these former patients' daily lives. The effects of this small society upon the neighborhood and city in which it was located, as well as its effects upon professional persons, are richly explored.
Clearly defining a radical departure from standard methods for treating the mentally ill, the authors conclude that such an autonomous society can thrive in the appropriate setting; the ex-patient's chances of employment are increased and the chance of recidivism are reduced; the member's self-esteem is enhanced; treatment costs are greatly reduced; the community adjustment of all members is increased, especially among those who have been hospitalized for a long period. With new guidelines for identifying danger zones in urban settings, this becomes a critical work.
George W. Fairweather was professor of psychology at Michigan State University and is author of Methods for Experimental Social Innovation and Social Psychology in Treating Mental Illness. David H. Sanders was professor of psychology and psychiatry at Michigan State University. He has also been a research associate at Stanford University. David L. Cressler and Hugo Maynard were professors of psychology at Portland State University. They have also been research associates at Stanford University.
In this reprint from 1969, Fairweather, who taught psychology at Michigan State U., et al. present an account of an experiment they conducted in which a group of mental patients left a hospital and started their own community in a large, metropolitan area. They discuss the medical, economic, sociological, and psychological aspects of the patients' daily lives, comparisons to hospital treatment programs, the effects of their community on the neighborhood and city, and effects on the behavior and perception of its members. The authors also review the benefits of the living situation, arguing that it had a positive outcome.