1751: First mental hospital opens in the United States at Pennsylvania University Hospital, where a basement was reserved for people identified as mentally ill.
1770s: The first mental health hospital in the U.S., named Eastern State Hospital, opens in Williamsburg, Va. in 1773. Dr. Benjamin Rush, of the Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia, begins pioneering efforts to improve mental health treatment leading him to be known as the "Father of American Psychiatry". Dr. Rush also articulates the concept of alcoholism as a disease and is among the first individuals to prescribe abstinence from alcohol as the sole remedy. The earliest recorded mutual self-help societies of individuals with alcohol abuse problems are created by Native Americans.
1793: According to psychiatric legend, French psychologist Phillip Pinel strikes the chains from mental patients held in the Bastille in France. Philip Pinel (1745-1826), the leading French psychiatrist of his day, was the first to say that the "mentally deranged" were diseased rather than sinful or immoral. In 1793, he removed the chains and restraints from the inmates at the Bicetre Asylum, and later from those at Salpetriere. Along with the English reformer William Turk, he originated the method of "moral management," using gentle treatment and patience rather than physical abuse and chains on hospital patients.
1840s: The Washingtonians, an organization with the central tenant that “social camaraderie was sufficient to sustain sobriety,” enlist recovering alcoholics as missionaries to individuals with drinking disorders, thus pioneering the notion of service as a tool of self-help. Dorothea Dix crusades for asylum reform. First U.S. attempt to measure the extent of mental illness occurs with the U.S. Census of 1840.
1841: Dorothea Dix begins her work on behalf of people with disabilities incarcerated in jails and poorhouses. A Boston schoolteacher, Dorothea Dix (1802-1887), made humane care a public and a political concern in the United States. In 1841, Dix visited a local prison to teach Sunday school and was shocked at the conditions for the inmates. She subsequently became very interested in prison conditions and later expanded her crusade to include the poor and mentally ill people all over the country. She spoke to many state legislatures about the horrible sights (people were being housed in county jails, private homes and the basements of public buildings) she had witnessed at the prisons and called for reform. From 1841 to 1881, Dix fought for new laws and greater government funding to improve the treatment of people with mental disorders and personally helped establish 32 state hospitals that were to offer moral treatment. In the mid-nineteenth century, Dorothea Lynde Dix was influential in changing conditions in institutions in New England. In 1881, at 40th anniversary of the Medico-Psychological Association at University College, Daniel Tuke, the president, paid respect to her “who has a claim to the gratitude of mankind for having consecrated the best years of her life to the fearless advocacy of the cause of the insane.”
1844: The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is founded. At a meeting in 1844 in Philadelphia, 13 superintendents and organizers of insane asylums and hospitals formed the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane (AMSAII), which became the American Psychiatric Association in 1921. The Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane included among its tenets:
- Insanity is a disease to which everyone is liable.
- Properly and promptly treated, it is about as curable as most other serious diseases.
- In the majority of cases it is better and more successfully treated in well-organized institutions than at home.
- Overcrowding is an evil of serious magnitude.
- The insane should never be kept in penal institutions.
1848: Samuel Gridley Howe tells the Massachusetts legislature, "There are at least a thousand persons of this class who not only contribute nothing to the common stock, but who are ravenous consumers, who are idle and often mischievous, and who are dead weight upon the prosperity of the state."
1850s: After the 1853 invention of the hypodermic syringe, its use to inject morphine to reduce pain rapidly became widespread during the Civil War. St. Elizabeth’s Psychiatric Hospital is established as first Federal mental health facility in 1855.
1858: Henry Knight cuts the ribbon on the first institution for Undesirables in Connecticut stating, "Being consumers and not producers, they are a great pecuniary burden in the state."
1868: Mrs. Elizabeth Packard, (1816-1897) one of North America's first ex-insane asylum inmate activists, publishes the first of several books and pamphlets in which she detailed her forced commitment by her husband in the Jacksonville (Illinois) Insane Asylum. Elizabeth Packard was locked up from 1860-1863 because she disagreed with some of her husband's religious views, had different ideas than he did about how to raise their children, and also because she opposed slavery while he was in favor of it. For daring to have such opinions, she spent three years confined as a madwoman.
In a series of publications and numerous public speeches, she recounted what happened to her and why laws and conditions in asylums needed to be changed. Some reports credit her years of work to getting 21-34 laws changed across the United States around these and related matters dealing with inmates' rights. She also visited asylum inmates in various states to offer her personal support. The American Bar Association, in a 1968 report, said that Elizabeth Packard was responsible for changes to commitment laws in Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, and other states as well. She was crucial to raising public consciousness in North America about the treatment of asylum inmates during the second half of the nineteenth century.
Some publications by Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard:
- Barbara Sapinsley, "The Private War of Mrs. Packard". New York: Paragon House, 1991.
- 'Elizabeth Parsons Ware Packard' in "Women of the Asylum: Voices from behind the Walls, 1840-1945", edited by J. Geller and M. Harris. New York: Anchor Books, 1994: pages 58-68.
She also founded the Anti-Insane Asylum Society, which apparently never became a viable organization. Similarly, in Massachusetts at about the same time, Elizabeth Stone, also committed by her husband, tried to rally public opinion to the cause of stopping the unjust incarceration of the "insane."
1870s: The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) – the first national organization composed of community-based groups – is founded and focused on the problems that alcohol caused families and society.
1879: Wilhelm Wundt establishes the first formal psychological laboratory at the University of Leipzig in Germany where he introduced a scientific approach to psychology and performed many experiments to measure peoples' reaction time. This event is considered the birth of psychology.
1883: Sir Francis Galton in England coins the term eugenics, in his book “Essays in Eugenics”, to describe his pseudo-science of "improving the stock" of humanity. The eugenics movement, taken up by Americans, leads to passage in the United States of laws to prevent people with various disabilities from moving to this country, marrying, or having children. In many instances, it leads to the institutionalization and forced sterilization of people with disabilities or poor people, including children. Eugenics campaigns against people of color and immigrants led to passage of "Jim Crow" laws in the South and legislation restricting immigration by southern and eastern Europeans, Asians, Africans, and Jews.
1890s: New York passes The State Care Act that fosters state responsibility for mental health services.
1892: American Psychological Association (APA) is founded.
1900s: First institutions to treat addiction as a medical problem – i.e. early treatment centers – are created. Preventive legislation was needed to curb the increasing dependence on the drugs in patient medicines; the Federal Food and Drug Act of 1906 removed narcotics from those products.
1900: Sigmund Freud presents his concepts of psychoanalysis in a publication entitled "The Interpretation of Dreams."
1908: Clifford Beers (1876-1943) publishes A Mind That Found Itself, an account of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse he witnessed inside state and private mental institutions. He had spent some time in a psychiatric hospital as a patient after throwing himself out of a fourth floor window believing he may have a brain tumor like his brother. He started the Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven in 1913. It was the first outpatient mental health clinic in the United States. Beers was one of the biggest supporters of the eugenics movement in America, which also flourished in Germany during the early part of the 20th century. Since the postwar period, both the public and the scientific community has generally associated eugenics with Nazi abuses, which included enforced racial hygiene, human experimentation, and the extermination of undesired population groups. Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century however have raised many new questions and concerns about what exactly constitutes the meaning of eugenics and what its ethical and moral status is in the modern era.
1909: The National Committee for Mental Hygiene is founded by Clifford Beers in New York City. This was the forerunner of the National Mental Health Association (NMHA).
1912: “The Kallikak Family” by Henry H. Goddard is a bestselling book. It proposed that disability was linked to immorality and alleged that both were tied to genetics. It advanced the agenda of the eugenics movement. The Threat of the Feeble Minded (pamphlet) created a climate of hysteria allowing for massive human rights abuses of people with disabilities, including institutionalization and forced sterilization.
1914: The Harrison Act of was the first effort toward making it impossible for people with addictions to legally obtain drugs.
1917: The Smith-Hughes Vocational Education Act becomes law.
1918: The Smith-Sears Veterans Rehabilitation Act provides for the promotion of vocational rehabilitation and return to civil employment of disabled persons discharged from U.S. military.
1920: The Smith-Fess Vocational Rehabilitation Act provides for the promotion of vocational rehabilitation of persons disabled in industry. The United States Office of Vocational Rehabilitation was established.
1920: The 18th Amendment, ratified in 1920, prohibits the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors.
1921: The U.S. Veterans Bureau is established (later known as the Department of Veterans Affairs).
1924: The Commonwealth of Virginia passes a state law that allowed for sterilization (without consent) of individuals found to be "feebleminded, insane, depressed, mentally handicapped, epileptic, and other." Alcoholics, criminals and drug addicts were also sterilized.
1927: On May 2, 1927 the U.S. Supreme Court, in Buck v. Bell (Carrie Buck, AKA Carrie Buck Detamore), rules that the forced sterilization of people with disabilities is not a violation of their constitutional rights. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, "It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind….Three generations of imbeciles are enough." Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes equated sterilization to vaccination. Nationally, 27 states began wholesale sterilization of "undesirables." The decision removes the last restraints for eugenicists; advocating that people with disabilities be prohibited from having children. By the 1970s, some 60,000 disabled people are sterilized without consent. This included people identified as having "mental illness."
1930s: The U.S. Public Health Service establishes the Narcotics Division, later named the Division of Mental Hygiene.
1931: The International Foundation for Mental Health Hygiene is founded by Clifford Beers.
1932: The Disabled American Veterans is chartered by Congress to represent disabled veterans in their dealings with the federal government.
1933: The 21st Amendment repeals the 18th Amendment, which meant that states once again had the right to enact laws regulating the sale and use of alcoholic beverages.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the first physically disabled person ever to be elected as a head of government, is sworn into office as president of the United States.
1935: Bill W. and Dr. Bob found the self-help society known as Alcoholics Anonymous on June 10, 1935.
“Man the Unknown”, written by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Alexis Carrel, suggests the removal of criminals and the mentally ill by euthanasia, using institutions equipped with suitable gases.
The Social Security Act is passed. This established federally funded old-age benefits and funds to states for assistance to blind individuals and disabled children. The Act extended existing vocational rehabilitation programs.
1939: Amid the outbreak of World War II and a societal acceptance of eugenics, Hitler orders widespread "mercy killing" of the sick and disabled. The Nazi euthanasia program was code-named Aktion T4 and was instituted to eliminate "life unworthy of life." In 1940, 908 patients were transferred from an institution for retarded and chronically ill patients in Schoenbrunn, Germany to the euthanasia installation at Eglfing-Haar to be gassed. A monument to the victims stands in the courtyard at Schoenbrunn.
1941: Hitler suspends the Aktion T4 program that killed nearly one hundred thousand people. Euthanasia continued through the use of drugs and starvation instead of gassings.
1943: Clifford Beers dies.
1945: American Indians begin participating in AA. However, most were required to give up their culture and spiritual beliefs in order to participate.
1946: President Truman signs the National Mental Health Act, creating for the first time in U.S. history a significant amount of funding for psychiatric education and research and leading to the creation of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
The National Mental Health Foundation is founded by conscientious objectors who served as attendants at state mental institutions during World War II. It works to expose the abusive conditions at these facilities and becomes an early impetus in the push for deinstitutionalization.
First They Came
First they came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the sick, the so-called incurables, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't mentally ill.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.
Modern translation of poem by Martin Niemoeller, 1946
1948: We Are Not Alone (WANA), a mental patients' self-help group, is organized at the Rockland State Hospital in New York City. Their goal was to help others make the difficult transition from hospital to community. Their efforts led to the establishment of Fountain House, a psychosocial rehabilitation service for people leaving state mental institutions. Members of Fountain House supported one another by creating a community among people struggling with serious mental illness. This initiative laid the groundwork for the "clubhouse" model, which promotes the importance of meaningful work in people's lives, and which would serve as a model for psychiatric rehabilitation programs developed in the 1960s and 1970s.
The combined specialty of “neuropsychiatry” was divided into “neurology”, dealing with organic or physical diseases of the brain, and “psychiatry”, dealing with emotional and behavioral problems.
1950s: First psychotropic drugs discovered, contributing to the beginning of deinstitutionalization.
1950: Mary Switzer is appointed the Director of the U.S. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation where she emphasized independent living as a quality of life issue.
Social Security Amendments established a federal-state program to aid permanently and totally disabled persons.
1952: The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) has 112 mental disorders in its initial 1952 edition.
1954: The U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka rules that separate schools for black and white children are unequal and unconstitutional. This pivotal decision became a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement.
Vocational Rehabilitation Amendments are passed that authorized federal grants to expand programs available to people with physical disabilities.
Mary Switzer, Director of the U.S. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, authorizes funds for more than 100 university-based rehabilitation-related programs.
Social Security Act of 1935 is amended by PL 83-761 to include a freeze provision for workers who were forced by disability to leave the workforce. This protected their benefits by freezing their retirement benefits at their pre-disability level.
1955: Congress authorizes the Mental Health Study Act of 1955.
Resident patients in state and county hospitals in the U.S. peak at around 550,000.
1956: Congress passes the Social Security Amendments of 1956, which creates a Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program for disabled workers aged 50 to 64.
1958: Social Security Amendments of 1958 are extended Social Security Disability Insurance benefits to dependents of disabled workers.
Rehabilitation Gazette (formerly known as the Toomeyville Gazette), edited by Gini Laurie, was a grassroots publication which became an early voice for disability rights, independent living and cross-disability organizing. It featured articles by writers with disabilities.
1960s: The Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health is issued and it documents that smoking cigarettes causes cancer and other serious diseases. Federal agencies devoted to addiction research are founded. The American Medical Association formally recognizes alcoholism as a disease and the insurance industry begins to underwrite addiction treatment.
1960: Social Security Amendments of 1960 eliminates the restriction that disabled workers receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits must be 50 or older.
1961: The Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Health’s 1961 Action for Mental Health study was a result of the Mental Health Study Act (1955).
1962: Edward V. Roberts lawsuit to gain admission to the University of California. Roberts becomes the first severely disabled student at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1970, he formed a group on campus called the Rolling Quads. One year later, Roberts and his associates established the nation’s first Center for Independent Living (CIL) and 15 years after being told he was “too disabled to work”, he was appointed as the head of Vocational Rehabilitation for California. Roberts established nine CILs in the state in 1975. Today there are over 300 CILs nationwide. Roberts is known as the father of the independent living movement.
1963: President John F. Kennedy, in an address to Congress, calls for a reduction, "over a number of years and by hundreds of thousands, (in the number) of persons confined "to residential institutions, and he asks that methods be found "to retain in and return to the community the mentally ill and mentally retarded, and there to restore and revitalize their lives through better health programs and strengthened educational and rehabilitation services." President Kennedy signs the Community Mental Health Centers Act to substitute comprehensive community care for custodial institutional care. Though not labeled such at the time, this is a call for deinstitutionalization and increased community services.
Congress passes the Mental Retardation Facilities and Community Health Centers Construction Act, authorizing federal grants for the construction of public and private nonprofit community mental health centers.
The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual has grown to 168 mental disorders in the DSM-II from the 112 mental disorders in its initial 1952 edition.
1964: Civil Rights Act is signed by President Lyndon Johnson. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, and creed – later, gender was added as a protected class.
1965: Medicare and Medicaid are established through passage of the Social Security Amendments of 1965, providing federally subsidized healthcare to disabled and elderly Americans covered by the Social Security program. These amendments changed the definition of disability under Social Security Disability Insurance program from "of long continued and indefinite duration" to "expected to last for not less than 12 months."
Vocational Rehabilitation Amendments of 1965 were passed authorizing federal funds for expansion of existing vocational rehabilitation programs.
1970s: The final report of President Jimmy Carter’s Commission on Mental Health calls for attention to basic community supports for mental health consumers. The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act consolidated drug laws and strengthened law enforcement; it also authorized the Controlled Substances Act classifying drugs based on medical value, harmfulness, and potential for abuse or addiction. President Nixon identified drug abuse as "public enemy number one in the United States" and launched the war on drugs and crime. The initial National Household Survey on Drug Abuse is completed in 1971.
1969–1970: Insane Liberation Front (ILF) is organized by Howie The Harp (homeless advocate), Dorothy Weiner (union organizer) and Tom Wittick (political activist/organizer) in Portland, Oregon. It is the first known, modern, organized, self-help, advocacy, ex-patient group that was dedicated to liberation from psychiatry.
1971: Mental Patients Liberation Project (MPLP) is founded by Howie The Harp in New York City.
Mental Patients Liberation Front (MPLF) is founded by two ex-patients in Boston (still in existence and sponsors the Ruby Rogers Advocacy and Drop-In Center).
Mental Patients' Association in Vancouver, Canada begins operating drop-in centers and residences within months of its founding.
Center for the Study of Legal Authority and Mental Patient Status (also known as LAMP) begun in Berkeley by David Richman.
A halfway house called Bonita House is founded inBerkeley, Calif. for persons who have been in psychiatric hospitals with c/s/x activist Sherry Hirsch as Executive Director.
The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama hands down its first decision in Wyatt v. Stickney, ruling that people in residential state schools and institutions have a constitutional right "to receive such individual treatment as (would) give them a realistic opportunity to be cured or to improve his or her mental condition." Disabled people can no longer simply be locked away in "custodial institutions" without treatment or education. This decision is a crucial victory in the struggle for deinstitutionalization.
The original Soteria House opened in 1971. A replication facility opened in 1974 in another suburban San Francisco Bay Area City. Despite the publication of consistently positive results the Soteria Project ended in 1983.
The National Center for Law and the Handicapped was founded at the University of Notre Dame, Ind. It became the first legal advocacy center for people with disabilities in the U. S.
1972: First edition of Madness Network News published.
The Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is founded in Washington, D.C. to provide legal representation and to advocate for the rights of people with mental illness.
The Legal Action Center (Washington, D.C. and New York City) is founded to advocate for the interests of people with alcohol or drug dependencies and for people with HIV/AIDS.
The Network Against Psychiatric Assault (NAPA) is organized in San Francisco.
The Rehabilitation Act is passed by Congress and vetoed by President Richard Nixon.
Social Security Amendments of 1972 created the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The law relieved families of the financial responsibility of caring for their adult disabled children.
The Commonwealth of Virginia ceased its sterilization program (begun in 1924). 8,300 individuals never received justice regarding their sterilizations.
1973: Peter Breggin, M.D. founds the Center for the Study of Psychiatry
The first Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression is held at the University of Detroit. It was held annually until 1985.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) votes to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. In 1980, however, when the APA published a new Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM III), in place of homosexuality was a new diagnosis, "Gender Identity Disorder in Childhood," also known as "Sissy Boy Syndrome."
The Rehabilitation Act passes. Of particular interest, Title V, Sections 501, 503 and 504 prohibited discrimination in federal programs and services and all other programs or services receiving federal funds. Key language in the Rehabilitation Act, found in Section 504, states “No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States, shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
1974: ADAMHA (Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration) is established.
Wade Blank founds the Atlantis Community in Denver, Colo., a model for community-based, consumer-controlled, independent living. The Atlantis Community provided personal assistance services primarily under the control of the consumer within a community setting.
1975: The U.S. Supreme Court, in O'Connor v. Donaldson, rules that people cannot be institutionalized against their will in a psychiatric hospital unless they are determined to be a threat to themselves or to others. Also, Rogers v. Macht (Rogers v. Okin or Rogers v. Commissioner of Mental Health) filed, and finally adjudicated in 1982, establishes a limited right to refuse treatment (psychiatric drugs) in Massachusetts.
Developmental Disabilities Bill of Rights Act: among other things, establishes Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system.
Education of All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142): requires free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment possible for children with disabilities. This law is now called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
1976: First ECT (Electro-Convulsive Therapy) informed consent lawsuit.
1977: NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) initiates a unique but modestly funded demonstration program, the Community Support Program (CSP) to stimulate and assist states and localities in improving opportunities and services in the community for people with a serious mental illness.
MHCC (Mental Health Consumer Concerns, Inc. Jay Mahler, Contra Costa County, Calif.)
Mental Patients Rights Association (MPRA), (Sally Zinman, West Palm Beach, Fla.)
Project Acceptance (Su Budd, Kansas)
The Alliance (George Ebert, Syracuse, N.Y.)
Vermont Liberation Organization (Paul Dorfner)
1978: On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System is published by McGraw-Hill. Written by Judi Chamberlin, it becomes a standard text of the psychiatric survivor movement.
Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act: provides for consumer-controlled centers for independent living.
On July 5-6, 1978, Wade Blank, founder of ADAPT (1983), and 19 disabled activists held a public transit bus "hostage" on the corner of Broadway and Colfax in Denver, Colo. ADAPT (originally American Disabled for Accessible Public Transit and later in 1990, American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today) eventually mushroomed into the nation's first grassroots, disability rights, activist organization. They used sledge hammers to create the first curb cuts for wheelchairs in the country.
1979: The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is founded in Madison, Wis. by parents of people labeled with "mental illness."
1980s: The Mental Health Systems Act of 1980 authorizes expansion of community mental health centers. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 moves this support into State block grants. The State Mental Health Planning Act of 1986 requires stakeholder involvement in the State block grant program. Congress passes the 1984 National Minimum Drinking Age Act that persuaded states to raise the minimum age from 18 to 21 for the purchase and possession of alcohol. In 1986, Nancy Reagan announces the "Just Say No" anti-drug campaign and the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP) was created. President George H. Bush creates the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to determine policies and priorities for the Nation’s drug control programs. Parents began organizing community coalitions, focusing on alcohol and drug issues at the local, state, and national levels. The American Medical Society on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependence is formed. Its creation is the result of efforts to combine several professional medical organizations under the auspices of a single entity for physicians interested in chemical dependency.
1980s: Native Americans begin to introduce culturally specific elements in to mainstream 12-step groups.
1980: Congress passes the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA), authorizing the U.S. Justice Department to file civil suits on behalf of residents of institutions whose rights are being violated.
Social Security Amendments, Section 1619, is passed. Designed to address work disincentives within the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs, other provisions mandated a review of Social Security recipients. This led to the termination of benefits of hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities.
California Network of Mental Health Clients (CNMHC) founded.
The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual has grown to 224 mental disorders in the DSM-III from the 112 mental disorders in its initial 1952 edition.
1981: Portland Coalition for the Psychiatrically Labeled (PCPL) is organized by Sally Clay in Portland, Maine.
P.L. 97-35 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act created Mental Health Block Grant.
1982: November, Berkeley bans electroshock (court later reverses); Ted Chabasinski organized this.
1983: Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act: provides for the Client Assistance Program (CAP), an advocacy program for consumers of rehabilitation and independent living services.
1984: The National Association of Psychiatric Survivors (NAPS) is organized. It was originally under the name The National Alliance of Mental Patients (NAMP).
Committee for Truth in Psychiatry (CTIP) is organized by shock survivors Marilyn Rice and Linda Andre.
1985: First Annual “Alternatives” Conference in Baltimore in June funded by NIMH-CSP (National Institute of Mental Health-Community Support Programs).
Madness Network News ceases publication.
The National Mental Health Consumers' Association (NMHCA) is founded.
Mental Illness Bill of Rights Act: requires protection and advocacy services (P&A) for people with mental illness.
1986: The first group of psychiatric survivor/consumers trained to work for the mental health system as professionals are trained in Denver, Colorado as Consumer Case Manager Aides (CCMA's) (Pat Risser). These "peer providers" were able to provide services that were billable to Medicaid under the Medicaid Rehabilitation Option Waiver in effect for Colorado.
Howie The Harp founds the Oakland Independence Support Center (OISC).
Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1986 defined supported employment as a "legitimate rehabilitation outcome."
Following numerous reports of abuse and neglect in state psychiatric hospitals and inadequate safeguards of patient rights, Congress passed the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-319; 42 U.S.C. 10801 et seq). This Act was modeled after the DD (Developmentally Disabled) Act and extended similar protections to persons with mental illness who reside in facilities. The Act was designed to set up protection and advocacy agencies for people who were in-patients or residents of mental health facilities.
Public Law 99-660 (The Healthcare Quality Improvement Act of 1986), and continuing through Public Law 101-639 (1990), Public Law 102-321 (1992), and Public Law 106-310 (2000), where the federal government mandated mental health planning as a condition for receipt of federal mental health block grant funds and mandated participation by stakeholder groups, including people living with mental illness and their families, in the planning process. P.L. 99-660 also mandated, "the provision of case management services to each chronically mentally ill individual in the states who receives substantial amounts of public funds or services."
1987: Dendron News first published in January.
First lawsuit is filed against a shock machine manufacturer.
The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual has grown to 253 mental disorders in the DSM-III-R from the 112 mental disorders in its initial 1952 edition.
SCCORE (Statewide Consumers of Colorado On the Rise for Empowerment) is founded by Pat Risser.
Texas Network of Mental Health Consumers (now Texas Mental Health Consumers (TMHC) is created.
Justin Dart, Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration, is forced to resign after he testified to Congress that “an inflexible federal system, like the society it represents, still contains a significant portion of individuals who have not yet overcome obsolete, paternalistic attitudes toward disability…”
1988: Civil Rights Restoration Act: counteracts bad case law by clarifying Congress' original intention that under the Rehabilitation Act, discrimination in ANY program or service that is a part of an entity receiving federal funding – not just the part which actually and directly receives the funding – is illegal. Congress has to override President Ronald Reagan's veto of this legislation.
The original version of the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) is introduced to Congress.
Housing Amendments Act: prohibits discrimination in housing against people with disabilities and families with children.
1989: Resident patients in state and county hospitals in the U.S. drops below 100,000.
Mouth: The Voice of Disability Rights began publication in Rochester, N.Y.
1990s: In 1992, President George H. Bush signs the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration Reauthorization Act creating the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Congress enacts separate mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment block grants.
1990: New York State OMH appoints first Office of Consumer Affairs (Darby Penney).
Altered States of the Arts founded at Alternatives '90 in Pittsburgh by Gayle Bluebird, Howie the Harp, Dianne Cote and Sally Clay.
Support Coalition International (SCI) (now called MindFreedom) founded in May.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is signed by President George Bush on July 26, 1992. It protects the civil rights of people with disabilities and gives some protection to people with mental illness by stating, "services and supports must be provided in the most integrated setting appropriate to the individual" thus advocating for community placement for people. Closely modeled after the Civil Rights Act and Section 504, the law was the most sweeping disability rights legislation in history. It mandated that local, state and federal governments and programs be accessible, that businesses with more than 15 employees make “reasonable accommodations” for disabled workers and that public accommodations, such as restaurants and stores, make “reasonable modifications” to ensure access for disabled members of the public. The act also mandated access in public transportation, communication, and in other areas of public life.
Early 1990s: Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps for Men co-created by White Bison, Inc. and a group of male Indian inmates in an Idaho prison.
Late 1990s: Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps for Women created through collaboration with Indian women inmates in another Idaho prison.
1991: PEOPLe: Projects to Empower and Organize the Psychiatrically Labeled (Sally Clay, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.).
"Alternatives '91" conference in Berkeley draws over 2,000 participants for the largest consumer/survivor conference ever. Howie the Harp calls this the largest voluntary gathering of mental patients in the known galaxy. It was also the last time the Alternatives conference was held on a college campus.
1992: NAMH: National Artists for Mental Health (Frank Marquit, Hudson, New York).
PEER Center is formed by a coalition of peer advocates, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) established by Congress under the ADAMHA (Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration) Reorganization Act, Public Law 102-321 on October 1, 1992. SAMHSA includes CMHS (Center for Mental Health Services).
Reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act: provides for greater consumer control through the development of Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILC's). Title I presumption of eligibility and 60-day eligibility determination period. Amendments to the Rehabilitation Act were infused with the philosophy of independent living.
1993: National Association of Consumer/Survivor Mental Health Administrators (NAC/SMHA).
New York: Community Access hires Howie the Harp as Director of Advocacy, New York City Recipients' Coalition, Peer Specialist Training Center.
1994: MADNESS email list first messages sent
New York OMH hires five regional recipient affairs persons. Mary Auslander is hired for New York City.
The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual has grown to 374 mental disorders in the DSM-IV from the 112 mental disorders in its initial 1952 edition.
In April, the first class of the Consumer Service Provider Training graduates in Contra Costa County, Calif. This is the first training for Community Support Workers where the curriculum, class design and training were all implemented and taught by other consumer/survivors (Pat Risser, Jay Mahler, Mary Carley, etc.) with a recovery orientation. In May, 1995, during the fourth class, being taught in Solano County, the notion of an individual personalized crisis plan was developed. This was the immediate predecessor of WRAP (see 1997).
1995: Howie the Harp died February 5 at age 42.
Justice for All was organized by Justin Dart and others in Washington, D.C.
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) was founded in Washington, D.C. (Andy Imparato).
1996: First time a shock machine manufacturer pays money to a survivor.
The Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 passed, barring insurance companies and large self-insured employers from placing annual or lifetime dollar limits on mental health coverage.
1997: WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) published by Mary Ellen Copeland.
Civil Rights Of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA): Authorizes the U.S. Attorney General to investigate conditions of confinement at state and local government institutions such as prisons, jails, pretrial detention centers, juvenile correctional facilities, publicly operated nursing homes, and institutions for people with psychiatric or developmental disabilities.
1998: Workforce Investment Act/Reauthorization of the Rehabilitation Act: The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) passed combining all previous labor training and education acts, such as JPTA into one Act. The act established “one-stop” shop to assist displaced workers in finding employment. The Rehabilitation Act was included in full as Title IV of WIA.
1999: Supreme Court rules in Olmstead v. L.C., 527 U.S. 581, that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), undue institutionalization qualifies as discrimination by reason of disability including people with a mental disability. People have a right to services in the community outside of institutions.
The first National Summit of Mental Health Consumers and Survivors, in August, in Portland, Ore., is organized by the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse with the help of the Oregon Office of Consumer Technical Assistance, and co-sponsored by consumer/survivor groups from around the country. Its goal was to develop consensus around the issues of greatest concern to consumers and survivors and create action plans for future work. The unifying principle was the construction of a platform from which the movement could influence national policy.
The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, Mental Health: A report of the Surgeon General is released and a White House Conference on Mental Health is convened.
Ticket to Work and Work Incentive Improvement Act: Removes barriers that have required people with disabilities to choose between health care coverage and work. The law also increases consumer choice in obtaining rehabilitation and vocational services through the establishment of a Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency program.
2000s: In October 2000, President Clinton signs the Children’s Health Act into law establishing national standards that restrict the use of seclusion and restraint in all health facilities. The Drug Addiction Treatment Act allow qualified physicians to dispense and prescribe schedule III, IV or V narcotic drugs or combinations of such drugs approved by FDA for the treatment of heroin addiction. The Access to Recovery initiative is established to enable individuals seeking drug and alcohol treatment with vouchers to pay for a range of appropriate community-based services. SAMHSA’s Report on Congress on co-occurring mental and substance use disorders identifies barriers to appropriate treatment and support services and proposes a system in which co-occurring disorders are addressed and treated as primary illnesses.
2000: The National Council on Disability (NCD) publishes, "From Privileges to Rights: People Labeled with Psychiatric Disabilities Speak for Themselves."
SOCSI (Subcommittee on Consumer/Survivor Issues) is created as a federally supported body to advise the CMHS (Center for Mental Health Services) National Advisory Council on consumer/survivor perspectives and issues.
2001: Rae Unzicker, one of the founders of NARPA (National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy) died March 22. Later that year, NARPA held its 20th Annual Rights Conference in Niagra Falls, N.Y.
The Commonwealth of Virginia House of Delegates approved a resolution expressing regret for its eugenics practices between 1924 and 1979.
2002: "...quality of life depends on a job, a decent place to live, and a date on Saturday night." Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W., SAMHSA Administrator
Justin Dart died, June 22, 2002.
2003: President George Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health’s report. The Commission declares "that America's mental health service delivery system is in shambles and that the mental health delivery system is fragmented and in disarray lead[ing] to unnecessary and costly disability, homelessness, school failure and incarceration." The Commission recommended fundamentally transforming how mental healthcare is delivered in America with a primary goal of "recovery" for everyone. The Commission further stated that the transformed system must be consumer and family driven.
In May a Florida judge orders a developmentally disabled woman to be sterilized following the abortion of her pregnancy which was the result of a rape that occurred in her group home. Is this the beginning of a modern revival of eugenics?
In September, over 200 disabled activists march 144 miles from the Liberty Bell in Pennsylvania to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. to demand passage of the Medicaid Community-based Attendants Services and Supports Act (MICASSA) and “no more stolen lives.”
2004: National Consensus Statement on Mental Health Recovery on December 17 defines mental health recovery: Mental health recovery is a journey of healing and transformation enabling a person with a mental health problem to live a meaningful life in a community of his or her choice while striving to achieve his or her full potential.
2006: The National Coalition of Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Organizations (NCMHCSO) is formed.
2007: The Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps for Teens is developed in Montana.
2010: Judi Chamberlin dies January 16 from pulmonary disease.
WRAP listed as evidence-based peer-led intervention in SAMHSA’s Registry of Evidence-Based Practices.
Peerlink National Technical Assistance grant received by Mental Health America of Oregon. This establishes first consumer-survivor T. A. Center West of the Mississippi. The National Empowerment Center used to have an office in California that was staffed by one person.