As Maryland debates further shifts of the mentally ill population from institutional to community-based care, it's being challenged by an explosion of patients in need of treatment and a system that may be improperly structured to accommodate them in the community, officials say. Read more.

Poor word choices still pop up in the media, especially in headlines where political correctness may be sacrificed in favor of cleverness. Read more.

The HOPE Wellness and Recovery Center has provided a critical safety net for the homeless since its opening in February 2001. Read more.

Montgomery, Howard, Harford and Prince George’s counties all have dedicated training programs in Maryland to teach police officers how to respond to mentally ill people in crisis. Read more.

John Allen, a former psychiatric patient, runs support groups and one-on-one sessions with patients transitioning out of mental institutions. Read more.
History of U.S. Mental Institutions
In the early 1800s, most of the mentally ill in the U.S. were housed in brutal prison conditions. Efforts by early reformers ushered in institutions for the mentally ill, which were considered more humane. But in recent decades, officials and advocates have pressed for deinstitutionalization. Many mentally ill are now being treated in community settings -- but others are finding themselves in prisons or in shelters. View the timeline.
Institutions in Maryland
Despite a decades-long effort to move mentally ill patients from state-run psychiatric hospitals into community settings, Maryland still operates five institutions for the mentally ill and two for those with developmental disabilities, along with two facilities for children and two for chronically ill adults. Click an icon to learn more about a facility. See larger map.
About This Project
How successful is Maryland's health system at treating the mentally disabled? What are police doing to prepare themselves to respond to those in crisis? And how well do the media cover those with disabilities?

Those are some of the questions a team of University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism students asked while reporting a project on the national push toward deinstitutionalization. The health multimedia reporting project was launched with support from Kaiser Health News service and the college's Capital News Service advanced reporting program and was led by faculty member Chris Harvey.
Medical Marijuana Supporters Look for Change from Congress

Medical Marijuana Supporters Look for Change from Congress

The Senate passage of legislation allowing VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana use to their patients is a step in the right direction but medical marijuana supporters want to see a change in federal regulation.

One Million Veterans to be Focus of Federal Disease Research Project

One Million Veterans to be Focus of Federal Disease Research Project

Mega bio-bank under construction to study how genes affect veterans' health.

Low-Income Alzheimer’s Patients Battle More Than The Disease

Low-Income Alzheimer’s Patients Battle More Than The Disease

It was 1994 when Barbara Harris noticed her mother, Edith Harris, would write and keep little notes. She was starting to forget things. “She started slipping a little bit,” daughter Harris, a Baltimore resident, recalled. It was not until 1996 that Edith Harris was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, a type of dementia that causes progressive memory loss that eventually interferes with daily tasks and body functions.

Undocumented violence: one immigrant’s story

Undocumented violence: one immigrant’s story

Domestic abuse is a silent crime in the state of Maryland, particularly among undocumented Hispanic immigrants. One woman such woman tells us her story.

Ballet Class Offers Hope for Disabled Children

Ballet Class Offers Hope for Disabled Children

At the Maryland Youth Ballet there is a program called Music and Motion that provides therapeutic ballet classes to dancers with physical disabilities.

Maryland Health Officials Lower Testing Age for Lead Poisoning

Maryland Health Officials Lower Testing Age for Lead Poisoning

State mandates that children aged one and two should undergo blood tests to detect lead levels

VA Program Aims to Help Veterans with Weight and Health

VA Program Aims to Help Veterans with Weight and Health

The VA's TeleMOVE program helps veterans loss weight with a daily phone call.

Despite Dangers, Use of Synthetic Drugs Surges

Despite Dangers, Use of Synthetic Drugs Surges

More than 6,000 people have called poison control centers this year for problems related to taking a category of psychoactive drug known as synthetic cannabinoids. And that number is on the rise.

Country Faces Shortage of Mental Health Professionals, Experts Tell Congress

Country Faces Shortage of Mental Health Professionals, Experts Tell Congress

Experts, Senate concerned by lack of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers to treat the mentally ill.

Obama’s Goal to End Veteran Homelessness by Year’s End Likely to Come Up Short

Obama’s Goal to End Veteran Homelessness by Year’s End Likely to Come Up Short

Homeless veterans would continue to be left in the lurch at the end of the year.