American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered an historic speech on mental illness and retardation. He described sweeping new programs to replace the shabby treatment of the many millions of the mentally disabled in custodial institutions with treatment in community mental health centers. This movement, later referred to as deinstitutionalization, continues to impact mental health care. Though he never publicly acknowledged it, the program was a tribute to Kennedys sister Rosemary, who was born mildly retarded and developed a schizophrenia-like illness. Terrified shed become pregnant, Joseph Kennedy arranged for his daughter to receive a lobotomy, which was a disaster and left her severely retarded.