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What Happened When Oregon Sent Its Most Troubled Mental-Health Patients Into the Woods


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It was nearly 70 years ago that the National Mental Health Association first observed May as Mental Health Month, a designation meant to raise awareness about mental-health issues. But a lot has changed since then in the American conversation about these problems.



One of the biggest steps was the move away from a model in which patients with serious mental-health problems were expected to live in large, typically state-run institutions. As TIME explainedin 1975, the population in such institutions had been more than halved between the late 1950s and the early 1970s. Much credit for the drop was due to the development of new drugs that made it possible for outpatient treatment to be effective––and to rising costs that made such treatment more appealing. But another important factor was the growing belief that life spent entirely within a hospital's walls was actively harmful for the patients it aimed to treat.

Alcohol free since February 2015 

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