And They Call It Help: The Psychiatric Policing of America's Children

Louise Armstrong, Author Addison Wesley Publishing Company $22.95 (306p) ISBN 978-0-201-57794-5
Tangled up in her rage and maddeningly complex sentences, the author develops a valuable expose of the fate of many children and adolescents assigned to psychiatric hospitals and mental health treatment centers in the U.S. Although Armstrong ( Kiss Daddy Goodnight ) fails to lay out the problem in a coherent form, she does reveal such startling practices as marketing campaigns of for-profit institutions. Reporting that juvenile hospitalization in the late 1980s burgeoned, she adds, ``evidence emerged everywhere that the boom in psychiatric institutionalization was reimbursement driven''--the institution's costs being paid by the state and/or insurance companies. She charges that normal children who are in abnormal situations, e.g., children whom the state has removed from abusive parents, and those whose adolescent behaviors are at odds with their parents' expectations, are too readily institutionalized. Most convincing when relating conversations with kids who talk about their experiences in institutions, Armstrong diminishes the effect of her effort with her constant stream of angry asides. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1993
Release date: 05/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
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