Deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill in New York State: An examination of the strategy of co-optation
Hochbaum, Charles H.
MetadataShow full item record
The study seeks to examine New York State's use of co-optation as a strategy for achieving its mental health policy goals. These policy goals included the closing of the State psychiatric hospitals, and attempts at helping those discharged to maintain themselves in the community while living successful, or normalized lives. A historical research methodology is employed. The sources of the data were documents from organizations, groups and individuals as well as verbal testimony from individuals who had an interest in the outcomes of mental health policy. The study additionally utilizes a method of content analysis examining the audio taped testimony of key leaders, past and present in the field of mental health.;The research questions were: Why has New York State's key mental health policy goals of closing the psychiatric hospitals, as well as helping patients maintain themselves in and normalize in the community, been only partially achieved? What policy strategy, if implemented, could have been more effective in the downsizing of psychiatric hospitals as well maintaining and normalizing patients in the community? New York State has been engaged in the process of lowering the number of in-patients in the psychiatric hospitals and assisting these people to live in the community since 1955. The researcher examines New York State's use of co-optation to achieve its policy goals. An attempt was made to demonstrate that despite the support, the policy of deinstitutionalization received, from professionals, organizations and politicians, at each step of the deinstitutionalization process, the policy could not be implemented until key stakeholders in the outcomes of New York State mental health policy were co-opted. The researcher attempted to show from testimony that conflicting parochial interest of the key stakeholder groups has slowed down the implementation of the policy of deinstitutionalization and that the state with its own interests has chosen to accept implementation of deinstitutionalization at that pace.