Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rest in Peace, Dorthea


(Aug. 28, 2012) A bad situation for the mentally ill in North Carolina has just gotten worse. After a two-decades-long battle, the state shuttered the 156-year-old Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh on August 15.

The hospital’s namesake was a tireless crusader who saw too many individuals with severe mental illness suffering in jails and instead promoted state hospitals as a therapeutic environment. One could only imagine what she would say now.

dorothea-dix-hospital-markerFriends of Dorothea Dix of Wake County (NAMI-Wake County) had something to say. They, too, were tireless crusaders, and they mourned the hospital's passing with an “In Memorial” ad in the Raleigh News and Observer. “For many years, Dorothea Dix Hospital led the way with new ideas, investigational studies, and the newest drug therapies,” the ad read in part. “She embraced change and scrutiny in order to improve care. She is survived by the multitude who entered her door and received and provided care.”

No more.
In just the five years from 2005-2010, North Carolina eliminated nearly half its public psychiatric beds, leaving only eight beds per 100,000 people, one of the lowest per-capita bed populations in the nation and less than one-fifth the beds estimated are necessary for minimally adequate psychiatric care. And that was before this most recent closure.northcarolina
In memory of Dorothea Dix and this namesake hospital, we encourage you to send our study, “No Room at the Inn: Trends and Consequences of Closing Psychiatric Hospitals,” to the policy makers and media in your state with a note about the risks and results of closing public hospital beds. 

For more tips on advocacy, visit our Get Involved page.
For more about the closure of Dorothea Dix in North Carolina, read: 
www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org

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