When so many ‘problems of living’ get reclassified as medical conditions, mental health becomes the government system that can’t say no.

Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health, by Thomas Insel (Penguin, 336 pages, $28)

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE S hortly after World War II, mental-health authorities made a promise that went something like this: Everything’s going to get better. We’ve decided that confining mentally ill Americans to asylums is unnecessary and harmful. They will be transferred to a place known as “the community.” There, we plan to develop a new array of programs superior to the discredited asylum system. The mentally ill will live normal lives in the community, thanks to supports — social, employment, recreational, housing — and access to treatment, whose efficacy

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