GRAPHIC: America’s mental health problem

What happens to Americans with mental illness? Many aren’t treated, and of those who are, the cost is increasingly being borne by Medicaid. The charts below illustrate the problem, starting with where Americans suffering from serious mental illnesses end up. Once they were treated like criminals — held against their will in asylums. That began to change in the 1960s with the introduction of effective anti-psychotic medications and a 1975 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that curbed involuntary hospitalization for most patients. But this wave of de-institutionalization didn’t work as well as many hoped. In the decades since, the number of Americans incarcerated in jails and prisons soared, and federal statistics show that roughly half of them have diagnosable mental disorders.

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