Inadequate support services for the mentally handicapped
Inadequate rehabilitation facilities for the mentally handicapped
In the early 1980's new drug therapies allowed psychiatric hospitals to release patients earlier, and former patients began returning to local communities where they were to be assisted by welfare institutions. But these institutions are inadequately organized, staffed or funded to provide the care needed. The patients are usually poor, single and without family support. They find it difficult to apply for help because of the indifference of staff, complexity of application and rigidity of procedures. Some are so heavily medicated that they find it hard to attend to ordinary things like cooking, paying rent, or washing. They need help finding places to live and jobs. They need someone to smooth over a dispute with a shopkeeper, or to calm them after a psychotic episode brought on by simply being on a crowded tram. They need friendship and support. They may withdraw, fearing condemnation of others, even before they experience it, or antagonize people with their odd behaviour. Many end up living on the street or returning to hospital simply for the food, shelter and friendship.