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DHS news release

This guest opinion by Bryan Johnston, interim DHS director, was published by the Statesman Journal on Oct. 26, 2005.  


Come celebrate state hospital's progress and future Nov. 10



By Bryan Johnston


If we go back in time to when the Oregon State Hospital was under construction in 1883, you'll notice that it was built on the far outskirts of Salem -- housing hundreds of patients from across the state but languishing far from the public eye.


Times have changed. Today, the OSH campus finds itself square in the middle of the metropolis -- an integral and very visible part of our community.


And that's how it should be. Today, the hospital, its patients and the community have everything to benefit from the increased attention and scrutiny OSH is receiving and the positive changes under way.


We welcome those changes. That's why I'm inviting you to attend "The Oregon State Hospital: Building for the Future" -- a benefit for OSH and its patients Nov. 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Historic Elsinore Theatre in Salem.
Hosted by the nonprofit Oregon State Hospital Foundation, the benefit coincides with the 30th anniversary of the release of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," which was filmed at the state hospital. All proceeds will go toward the purchase of treatment-related patient services and a memorial for the cremains of patients who have passed away.


A highlight of the evening will be the showing of the documentary that describes the making of the film. Often poignant, it's an intriguing, behind-the-scenes look straight from the folks who brought Ken Kesey's novel to life.
While filming the movie, cast members lived at the hospital to immerse themselves in the environment and to better empathize with the lives of patients they were portraying. Going home at the end of the day was not an option.


Since "Cuckoo's Nest" was filmed in the 1970s, the concept of psychiatric care has changed dramatically. Gone are the horrors depicted in the movie and the book, and, fortunately, there's no longer a role for controlling and patronizing "Nurse Ratcheds" at the hospital or in the community.


Today, Oregon embraces the recovery model for people with mental illness. Instead of fostering quiet compliance, the hospital strives to help patients regain self-reliance and independence.


Many patients return to their families and communities and lead successful, productive lives.


Finally, the entire concept of institutions is changing. With support from Gov. Kulongoski and the Legislature, we're reconceiving and reconfiguring how we construct the state mental-health system. We're redefining the role of the hospital and the roles of our providers to work toward integrated community-based care.


The Oregon State Hospital will never again sit on the outskirts of town unnoticed, underfunded and forgotten.
Maybe it's time to celebrate change -- how far we've come in treating people with mental illness -- and where we're going. The Oregon State Hospital Foundation has created an event that allows us to do that. Please help us build for the future by joining us on Nov. 10.