Originally published in 1985, at a time when the previous 2 decades had witnessed dramatic changes in the US mental health system. These included the decline of the state mental hospital, the birth of the community mental health center and the expansion of psychiatric services in general hospitals. The inevitable results of the changes were the creation of a huge nursing home population of the chronically mentally ill, and the multiplication of urban 'street people'. Mental health care is uncoordinated and underfunded. The historical roots of these problems are examined in this book which is designed both as a professional reference volume and as a text for students in the sociology of mental health and illness. The contributors are drawn from diverse fields, including sociology, psychiatry, psychology, epidemiology and social history.