Hospitalization of the Voluntary Mental Patient

In 1949, the last year for which accurate statistics are available, 390,567 persons were admitted to mental hospitals in the United States. Total annual cost of mental illness, including loss of earnings, has been estimated to be over a billion dollars a year. Although the problems involved in admission of the mentally ill patient to a hospital are usually thought of in terms of formal involuntary commitment proceedings, there is an increasing awareness of the desirability of provision for voluntary procedures which would encourage prompt and effective medical care. Voluntary admission is not a form of commitment, although it may have similar legal consequences.