Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 191–201 | Cite as

The emergence of the bowery as a psychiatric dumping ground

  • Robert Reich
  • Lloyd Siegel


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.


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  1. 1.
    Senate Democratic Task Force on the City of New York,Shelter Care for Men, Sept., 1976.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Men's Shelter Study Group,Report on Men Housed for One Night on the Bowery, 1976.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bahr H:Skid Row, an Introduction to Disaffiliation, New York, Oxford University Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Reich R, & Siegel L: The mentally ill shuffle to oblivion.Psychiatr Ann 3(11):35–55, 1973.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Reich
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lloyd Siegel
  1. 1.Mount Sinai School of MedicineN.Y.
  2. 2.Mount Sinai HospitalN.Y.
  3. 3.Office of Psychiatry, Department of Social ServicesUSA

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