Nowhere to Go: The Tragic Odyssey of the Homeless Mentally Ill

E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., Author
E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., Author HarperCollins Publishers $18.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-015993-1
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Millions of homeless people roam the streets of America, and the consensus is that one-third of them suffer severe mental disturbance. Torrey ( Surviving Schizophrenia ) is well qualified to diagnose this national tragedy: he worked at the National Institute of Mental Health for five years and runs a psychiatric clinic for homeless women. In a powerful, stinging expose, he spares no onepsychiatrists who shun the severely mentally ill and opt instead for lucrative private practice; civil-liberties lawyers who force the release of patients; an indifferent Reagan administration that hastened ``deinstitutionalization'' of patients; state hospital officials, bypassed for federal funding, who left the problem of aftercare to community mental-health centersall players in the system receive a sound drubbing. Torrey calls his former employer, the NIMH, a jungle of ineffectual programs. He urges a combination of greater public psychiatric services, subsidized low-income housing and the requirement that every psychiatrist work four hours per month with the homeless mentally ill. No other book has dealt with this crisis so thoroughly. (September)