In clinical and abnormal psychology, institutional syndrome refers to deficits or disabilities in social and life skills, which develop after a person has spent a long period living in mental hospitals, prisons, or other remote institutions. In other words, individuals in institutions may be deprived of independence and of responsibility, to the point that once they return to "outside life" they are often unable to manage many of its demands. It has also been argued that institutionalized individuals become psychologically more prone to mental health problems.
The term institutionalization can be used both in regard to the process of committing an individual to a mental hospital or prison, or to institutional syndrome; thus a person being "institutionalized" may mean either that he/she has been placed in an institution, or that he/she is suffering the psychological effects of having been in an institution for an extended period of time.
Juvenile wards are sections of psychiatric hospitals or psychiatric wards set aside for children and/or adolescents with mental illness. However, there are a number of institutions specializing only in the treatment of juveniles, particularly when dealing with drug abuse, self-harm, eating disorders, anxiety, depression or other mental illness.
Many state hospitals have mental health branches, such as the Northern Michigan Asylum.
Deinstitutionalization is the process of replacing long-stay psychiatric hospitals with less isolated community mental health service for those diagnosed with a mental disorder or developmental disability. Deinstitutionalization can have multiple definitions; the first focuses on reducing the population size of mental institutions. This can be accomplished by releasing individuals from institutions, shortening the length of stays, and reducing both admissions and readmission. The second definition refers to reforming mental hospitals' institutional processes so as to reduce or eliminate reinforcement of dependency, hopelessness, learned helplessness, and other maladaptive behaviors.