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In the US the Community Mental Health Act of 1963 (CMHA) (also known as the Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act) (Public Law 88-164) was an act to provide Federal funding for community mental health centers. It led to considerable deinstitutionalization.
In 1955, Congress passed the Mental Health Study Act, leading to the establishment of the Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Mental Health. That Commission issued a report in 1961, which would become the basis of the 1963 Act.
The CMHA provided grants to states for the establishment of local mental health centers, under the overview of the National Institute of Mental Health. The NIH also conducted a research involving adequacy in mental health issues. The purpose of the CMHA was to provide for community-based care, as an alternative to institutionalization. However, some states saw this as an excuse to close expensive state hospitals without spending some of the money on community-based care.
The CMHA proved to be a mixed success. Many patients, formerly warehoused in institutions, were released into the community. However, not all communities had the facilities or expertise to deal with them. In many cases, patients wound up in adult homes, or with their families, but without the mental health care they needed.
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