Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Public Affairs and Administration

First Advisor

Dr. Ralph C. Chandler

Second Advisor

Dr. Fredric J. Mortimore

Third Advisor

Dr. Kenneth E. Reid


The State of Michigan has been partially responsible for the treatment of the mentally ill population since 1832, when Wayne County General Hospital opened its doors. The state government made a commitment to care for the afflicted, and at the same time provide an opportunity for other individuals to participate in their treatment. Eventually this commitment led to the establishment of employment for many citizens, and gradually, over the decades, a mental health bureaucracy emerged. It was necessary to hire not only professional staff, but also support staff such as food services, housekeeping, maintenance, and the like. Mental health facilities were built and staffed; they became home for those suffering from mental illness.

As the mental health bureaucracy grew, funding had to be allocated, which accounted for a burgeoning governmental influence. Personnel policies, appropriations, regulatory bodies, and the Michigan Mental Health Code all became intertwined as a complex mental health network came into existence with the objective of positively influencing mental health care.

This research addresses the evolution of the state hospital mental health system in Michigan. The administrative, legislative , judicial, and community perceptions of mental health in Michigan are reviewed and discussed. Surveys of hospital budgets, full-time employment, and annual rates of patient care are analyzed. The conclusion of this research addresses the feasibility of maintaining inpatient treatment programs. A summary and the implications that Michigan mental health faces are then presented. The time frame for this investigation is 1980 through 1989.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access