Healthcare Insider Blog

Behavioral Health students: A brief history of mental-health care

  • Healthcare Alvernia

Fifty years ago, President Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Act, which provided funds for local behavioral health institutions in the hopes they would deinstitutionalize the poor mental-health treatment of larger, in-patient institutions. But as is often the case in healthcare, the funding wasn’t there, and Kennedy’s vision was never realized.

“The goals of deinstitutionalization were perverted. People who did need institutional care got thrown out, and there weren’t the programs in place to keep them supported,” said former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the president’s nephew. “We don’t have an alternate policy to address the needs of the severely mentally ill.”

Realizing the needs of the nation’s mentally ill have yet to be fully met, Patrick Kennedy began the Kennedy Forum – an organization created to develop an agenda for improving mental-health care.

As the Kennedy Forum focuses on national issues concerning mental health, it’s up to alumni and current behavioral health grads to improve the landscape locally in Reading, PA.

Earning a Behavioral Health degree from Alvernia University prepares graduates to be impactful leaders in the fields of addiction studies, mental health and child welfare.

Our Behavioral Health program’s commitment to excellence is exemplified through Alvernia’s faculty selection. Our highly trained faculty provide an educationally rich and engaging classroom experience.

Offered at Reading, Pottsville or Philadelphia campuses, our program maintains an extremely high employment placement rate, and our Career Services Office can provide assistance to graduates with resume preparation, interview help and job search advice.

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