Community Mental Health Act Law and Legal Definition

The Community Mental Health Act of 1963 (CMHA) was an act to provide federal funding for community mental health centers. Report issued by the Joint Commission on Mental Illness and Mental Health in 1961 is the basis of the Act. The CMHA provided grants to states for the establishment of local mental health centers, under the overview of the National Institute of Mental Health. The purpose of the CMHA was to provide for community-based care, as an alternative to institutionalization. However, some states saw this as an excuse to close expensive state hospitals without spending some of the money on community-based care.