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I agree that people with mental illness are sometimes treated poorly. There are sincere and able mental health professionals who labor to improve the lot of their patients. However, it's an uphill struggle. Facilities are often neglected and unsanitary. The standards for care are not equal to those of medical establishments. The most egregious aspect of this situation is that little is offered to patients other than the traditional kind of counseling. We need to provide patients with the opportunity to make choices about careers, housing, education and social interactions. Involving people with mental illness in activities that will change the nature of their lives encourages hope and decreases hospitalizations. Psychiatric treatment without a specific program of rehabilitation creates a class of "career mental patients" who lack the ability to participate in community life.

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