Authors: Liz Newton, NSW
Event: 1999 TheMHS Conference
Subject: psychiatric stigma, deinstitutionalisation, book of proceedings
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The title of this paper is a quoted headline from a local newspaper printed a few days after a group of long-stay psychiatric inpatients moved to the community.
Developing and achieving a new and acceptable identity in society for individuals who have spent the major portion of their adult life in an institution is difficult.
The psychiatric stigma is a legacy of a system imposed by mainstream society that considered mentally ill people a forgotten sector of society: “Out of sight and out of mind”.
This paper examines the fears and realities connected with the deinstitutionalisation experience from an anthropological perspective. It draws on two and a half years fieldwork research following a group of people from hospital to community.
It was found that given adequate support, reconnection with mainstream society is achievable and desirable for people with a history of institutionalisation.