Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 191-201

First online:

The emergence of the bowery as a psychiatric dumping ground

  • Robert ReichAffiliated withMount Sinai School of MedicineMount Sinai HospitalOffice of Psychiatry, Department of Social Services
  • , Lloyd Siegel

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The drastic reduction of State Hospital population in New York over the past decade has led to a demographic relocation of the mentally ill, rather than any real decline in the rate or severity of mental disorders. Unable to function on their own in society and without adequate supportive facilities available, many discharged patients live in the streets and eventually end up on the Bowery, where they are cared for at The Men's Shelter. Studies have shown that over 50% of the current Bowery population has a history of mental illness and that alcoholism is often a secondary, rather than primary diagnosis. The most frequently encountered diagnostic syndromes are mentioned and commented upon. Possible alternative treatment interventions are suggested.