We need to strike a balance between community-based and hospital care in our mental health services. By Justin Frewen and Dr. Anna Datta
The majority of economically 'developed' countries have experienced three main stages in the evolution of mental health careThe first one, between 1880 and 1995, was dominated by the concept of providing treatment in 'asylums', large medical institutions that were generally located far from the patients' communities.
Around 1955, 'asylums' fell into disfavour, as efforts were made to develop community mental health facilities adjacent to their catchment areas. The intention was to provide mental health care and services in a decentralised manner, easily accessible to its clients. Over the past couple of decades, the third stage has seen a new approach to mental health service provision, one which aims at combining and amalgamating components of both community and hospital services.