Chronically Ill and Overlooked

by BLMayotte on October 3, 2016 - 10:57am

There are many hot button topics that most people think or argue about on a regular basis while other important topics take the back burner. The issue of the care of the mentally ill unfortunately tends to fit the latter. In recent years, there has been a much greater focus on mental problems such as mild anxiety or OCD. While this is great, the care plan of the severely mentally ill is still subpar and this is what is discussed in the article. Christine Montross, the author, presents the major issue that has occurred since deinstitutionalization. As a hospital psychiatrist, she has seen the problem first hand and can give proper insight to the situation. Using examples and statistics, Montross presents a plea for increased care and the reestablishment of mental hospitals. Some might overlook the true message of the article because of the title, “The Modern Asylum.”  There is a negative connotation that goes with the word ‘asylum’ considering the horrors and mistreatment of the mentally ill that took place in the past. Though unethical mental institutions are now rightfully shut down, those with extreme mental disorders are not properly taken care of. This has been a topic touched upon in the past few years but this article in particular brings up some very important points.


Montross acknowledges the dangers and failures of institutions in the past and explains the correct way to approach the situation. By reading this article, people can gain a better understanding of the realities of modern care units for the mentally ill. By providing treatment in asylums in a similar manner to treatment in a facility for dementia, the quality of life for the patients can continue to improve (Montross 2015). Though some might argue for the quality of the current group homes and hospitals, alternatives to asylums are addressed in the article and their faults are explained. Without adequate funding or proper care, Montross explains, there will not be any significant support. Facilities with the right people, resources, and methods are needed to keep the severely ill off of the streets. There are many who are not in their right mind who are not able to fight for their rights. Though this is true, the rights and the responsibility to fight for these rights still exists and lies in the hands of others. Montross is one of these people who takes it upon herself to fight for these individuals and her argument has a right to be heard. 


Montross, C. (2015). The Modern Asylum. The New York Times. Retrieved from:


The subject of this article affecting me personally, therefore I was naturally drawn to this article. I work with the mentally challenged on a regular basis, talk with their families on a regular basis, and, I agree, ressources for the chronically ill are very rare and mental illness in general tends to be overlooked. It sparked a lot of head nods from my part. As you say, even though the North American societies have improved in the past years on the matter, it is our duty as communities to provide for the mentally ill, as, for the most intense cases, they cannot provide basic needs for themselves. For me, it all has to start by demystifying the stereotypes surroundings the mentally challenged people. Stereotypes, these preconceived ideas the dominant group of society creates in our ideas, have affected many sub-groups, such as races, genders, sexual orientation, and, of course, mental handicaps. We have to, as a society, stop seeing ‘‘Black’’ people as fried-chicken lovers or autistic people as human calculators with no social skills. So, thank you for shedding light on this important, but it cannot be solved without getting rid of stereotypes surrounding mental illnesses and start caring about what they need.

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