Impact of the community mental health movement on state hospital admissions
This study attempted to evaluate the impact Wyoming's recent community mental health center movement had on Wyoming State Hospital admission rates during the period 1963-1973. During the most recent three years of that period, the group of counties with either full or part-time mental health services had a significantly lower rate of admission to the state hospital than the group of counties receiving no mental health services. No significant difference was found between the groups during the first seven years under study. Possible explanations for these findings were discussed. A lag in utilization of the new programs or an initial increase in identification of cases may have been responsible for no difference in admission rates between counties with services and those without during the first seven years of this study. There was no significant variation in statewide admission rates over the 10-year period 1963-1973, and population size and fluctuations in population size of counties did not correlate with admission rates. The distance factor was found to correlate highly with admission rates; the greater the distance of counties from the hospital, the lower the admission rates there from those counties. Perhaps, truly comprehensive community mental health programs should involve intercoordination of institutional programs and community-based operations.