MENTAL PATIENT ORGANIZATIONS

Social clubs or other organizations formed to help former mental patients readjust to community life.These organizations are based on the fact that it often takes a discharged mental patient several months before he can feel at ease in social relationships. Membership in a club in which others are facing similar problems usually helps to prevent him from withdrawing, and lends him the group support he needs to get through this trying period.The Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health (1962) has reported the existence of about 70 of these organizations in 26 states. The largest was Recovery, Inc., which claimed 250 groups in 20 states, with a total membership of over 4000. In most instances groups meet in donated or rented quarters on regular evenings, and are primarily concerned with social life and the maintenance of morale. Many of these clubs have been short-lived. However, they tend to be more stable if they have professional consultants or leaders and are affiliated with professional organizations such as clinics, community agencies, hospitals, and mental health associations.Mental patient organizations are of three types. First, the largest number of the independent groups are social clubs, whose purpose is primarily recreational. Some of these clubs are limited to ex-mental patients, but others include friends and relatives of the patients as well. Second, there are a small number of mental patient aid societies, consisting of ex-patients, their relatives, and other members of the community. These societies conduct projects such as Christmas parties and clothing collections for patients as well as expatients, and are often concerned with bringing the mental hospital patient to the attention of the community. The third type is the small therapy group which is devoted to discussing problems of personal and community life, and the establishment of constructive relationships among the members. An excellent example is Recovery, Inc. In some cases the therapy groups are led by professionals affiliated with hospitals or clinics; in others, there is no professional affiliation or leader, and the purpose is largely to maintain morale. Frequently both types of therapy groups also engage in social-recreational activities. .Closely related to these organizations are the social rehabilitation centers for ex-mental patients. The best known is Fountain House, in New York City. It is an outgrowth of an ex-patient club, but has been reorganized to include a staff of consultants, a professional advisory board, and a large number of volunteers. The center provides space for a lounge, dining room, offices, classes, and various activities. There is an evening program for expatients who work full time, and a pre- vocational program during the day for those who are not yet able to work. In addition to social activities, Fountain House offers opportunities for actual work experiences, such as typing, that contribute to the organization. It also operates a number of neighborhood clubs for ex-patients

Cite this page: N., Pam M.S., "MENTAL PATIENT ORGANIZATIONS," in PsychologyDictionary.org, November 28, 2018, https://psychologydictionary.org/mental-patient-organizations/ (accessed July 20, 2019).
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