Finland has experienced one of the most rapid psychiatric deinstitutionalization processes in the world. Since 1980, the use of psychiatric beds has decreased about one-third. The effects of this deinstitutionalization were studied in the national Discharged Schizophrenia Patient Project. The study used three representative samples of patients with schizophrenia who were discharged from mental hospitals in 1982, 1986, and 1990, and followed them for 3 years. Patients with schizophrenia discharged at the beginning of the 1990s were older and more disturbed, and had been ill for a longer time than patients discharged at the beginning of the 1980s. The use of outpatient care increased and that of hospital care decreased, but because of the increased residential outpatient care, the total amount of residential care did not change during the study period. However, readmissions to the hospital increased. In patients with a long duration of illness, the increase in readmissions was exceptionally high; these patients also seemed to be losing their share of the residential outpatient services. On the whole, from the point of view of the psychiatric treatment system, deinstitutionalization seemed to have proceeded fairly successfully. The system proved able to redirect and use the available resources more effectively and to modify the structure of services according to the changing needs of patients discharged from hospitals. The well-developed social services have also supported this adaptation to the decreasing use of mental hospital beds.