LPC Proposes Economic Analysis of Mental Illness

Posted: May 16, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

More than two million seriously mentally ill people in the United States are homeless, needlessly imprisoned, or living in ghettos for lack of adequate care and treatment. The Law and Psychiatry Center (LPC) at the School of Law has published a revolutionary approach to community treatment designed to redress the plight of the U.S. mentally ill homeless.

In the report, “Lessons from the Japanese: Collective Choice in Public Policy Decisions to Care for and Treat the Mentally Ill in Japan,” William Carnahan, a distinguished lawyer, law and psychiatry expert, and former high-ranking official in the New York state government, proposes the first new approach to community treatment of the seriously mentally ill in three decades. Carnahan proposes using sophisticated economic analysis and modeling to design community residences that suit various types, intensities, and behaviors of mental illness.

“This proposal has the potential to create the first workable system for community treatment of mental illness in the United States,” says Paul Stavis, director of LPC. “This report offers decision makers an innovative approach to reversing the preventable tragedies of thousands of underserved mentally ill individuals caused by more than 30 years of failed discharge policies at state psychiatric hospitals.”

Through a grant from LPC, Carnahan conducted a comparative analysis of public systems for the treatment of serious mental illness in Japan and the United States. For the full story, including Carnahan’s four recommendations for remedying America’s mental illness treatment policies, see the news release. The report is available on the LPC web site.

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