Bedlam: An Intimate Journey Into America’s Mental Health Crisis – review

Bedlam: An Intimate Journey Into America’s Mental Health Crisis, named as a nod to the notorious English lunatic asylum of the 1400s, is an unflinching look at the cataclysmic state of today’s American Mental Health crisis and the series of cultural notions and governing decisions that caused its unfortunate arrival.

Dr. Kenneth Paul Rosenburg distills the unacceptable state of how America currently treats mental illness by weaving his own family’s story with those of others observed at the psychiatric emergency department of LAC+USC Medical Center.

Alongside these personal anecdotes, ample citings of government statistics and experts in the fields of treatment and research work together to paint the picture of a mental health system crippled with stereotypical misunderstandings, criminalization of the mentally ill, and lack of treatment options.

Although, as the “Journey into America’s Mental Health Crisis” is indeed a sad realization, it is not bereft of hope. Rosenburg encourages the reader with information touting successes by advocate interaction in law-making, positive results in new community-based treatments, and court-mandated “wraparound” assisted outpatient treatments. These and other successful programs around the world leave the reader with a positive outlook for the future.

Information packed and enjoyable to read, “Bedlam: An Intimate Journey Into America’s Mental Health Crisis,” does a great job of explaining how and why our health system currently functions and offers innovative approaches to fixing it.

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