One reliable indicator of health care quality in any nation is life expectancy. Unfortunately, life expectancy in the United States ranks in the bottom quartile of a list of 229 industrialized nations, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Many of these same 29 nations also increased their investment in mental health services while, during the same period, the U.S. slashed its expenditures for psychiatric and mental health services. Mentally ill patients have been dumped into our communities poorly prepared for them. Thousands of the mentally ill have joined the street people in many of our cities . . .
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