New Freedom Initiative

The majority of people who spend long periods of time in psychiatric hospitals or are frequently re-admitted have trauma histories.

Facts and Discussion Points:

* Up to 81% of men and women in psychiatric hospitals with a variety of major mental illness diagnoses have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse. Sixty-seven percent of these individuals were abused as children.1

* Seventy-four percent of Maine’s Augusta Mental Health Institute consumers, interviewed as class members, report histories of sexual and physical abuse.2

* Most individuals who appear repeatedly in inpatient settings have a history of unresolved trauma.3

* All treatment must address the consequences of re-victimization (through coercive psychiatric practices) of consumers who have a history of trauma.3


* State hospitals should provide treatment for trauma to the more than 80% of inpatient clients with histories of childhood trauma and ongoing abuse.


New Freedom Initiative References

1--Jacobson, A., & Richardson, B. (1987). Assault experiences of 100 psychiatric inpatients. Evidence of the need for routine inquiry. American Journal of Psychiatry, 144, 908-913.

2--Maine Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services. (1998). Augusta Mental Health Institute consent decree class member assessment.

3--R. Mazelis (personal communication, April 2002).