Get Alert
Please Wait... Processing your request... Please Wait.
You must sign in to sign-up for alerts.

Please confirm that your email address is correct, so you can successfully receive this alert.

Article   |    
In Defense of State Hospitals
George S. Sigel
Psychiatric Services 1984; doi:
View Author and Article Information

Metropolitan State Hospital, 475 Trapelo Road, Waltham, Massachusetts 02154

1984 by the American Psychiatric Association

text A A A
PDF of the full text article.

Dorothea Dix strongly believed that the government owes its destitute and defective members shelter and humane treatment. She played a direct role in founding 32 state hospitals. Her strength was that she took the time to notice the pain and suffering of the thousands she observed. Unaware of issues related to least restrictive settings, she felt that a state hospital would be the most therapeutic setting for many patients she encountered.Today observers can witness the same suffering within our communities. State hospitals, well run with collaboration between the private and public sectors, would diminish suffering for many patients. Located on several hundred acres of land near the cities, they could become the ideal therapeutic setting for many longer-term patients. Their programs would be accessible, responsible, and comprehensive, and they would shelter many patients. They could be well run and cost-effective.The hospital's programs could include specialized services for children, adolescents, and the elderly. Sheltered workshops could be developed with the help of private industry. Subsidized public housing could be built on the hospital grounds, with some units set aside for those with emotional handicaps. A psychiatric nursing home could be part of the complex. Moreover, community-like residences could be built on the hospital grounds to avoid a hostile community reaction to patients (7). Many state hospitals could then form affiliations with academic departments of psychiatry, an arrangement that could benefit both parties (8).It costs much money today to run badly administered state hospitals. It would cost a little more to run them well, converting them into centers where long-term treatment, training, and research could be conducted by a dedicated staff interested in treating chronic mental illness.

Abstract Teaser
Figures in this Article

Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.
Sign In to Access Full Content
Sign in via Athens (What is this?)
Athens is a service for single sign-on which enables access to all of an institution's subscriptions on- or off-site.
Not a subscriber?

Subscribe Now/Learn More

PsychiatryOnline subscription options offer access to the DSM-5 library, books, journals, CME, and patient resources. This all-in-one virtual library provides psychiatrists and mental health professionals with key resources for diagnosis, treatment, research, and professional development.

Need more help? PsychiatryOnline Customer Service may be reached by emailing PsychiatryOnline@psych.org or by calling 800-368-5777 (in the U.S.) or 703-907-7322 (outside the U.S.).




CME Activity

There is currently no quiz available for this resource. Please click here to go to the CME page to find another.
Submit a Comments
Please read the other comments before you post yours. Contributors must reveal any conflict of interest.
Comments are moderated and will appear on the site at the discertion of APA editorial staff.

* = Required Field
(if multiple authors, separate names by comma)
Example: John Doe

Related Content
Textbook of Psychotherapeutic Treatments > Chapter 20.  >
Dulcan's Textbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry > Chapter 43.  >
Gabbard's Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, 4th Edition > Chapter 34.  >
Topic Collections
Psychiatric News