A History of Mental Care in America

563 Words3 Pages
Mental illness plagues one out of four American citizens. Mental illness varies greatly from person to person. The spectrum of mental illness includes many illnesses including, depression and anxiety as well as some more serious illnesses such as Down syndrome. All mental illness plays a role in how this person is going to function in society. These individuals have unique needs and individual strengths that need evaluated for proper care. The early history of mental illness is bleak. The belief that anyone with a mental illness was possessed by a demon or the family was being given a spiritual was the reason behind the horrific treatment of those with mental illness. These individuals were placed into institutions that were unhygienic and typically were kept in dark, cave like rooms away from people in the outside world. The institutions were not only dark and gross; they also used inhumane forms of treatment on their patients. Kimberly Leupo, discusses some of the practices that were used, these included may types of electro shocks, submitting patients to ice bath, as well as many other horrific events (Leupo). Lobotomies, which are surgical procedures that cut and scrape different connections in the brain, were very common practice. They were thought to help cure mental illness, but often ended up with more damage than good. Dorthea Dix, a well-known name in the psychology field, was a major contributor to improving the quality of life for those that were in institutions. She was a volunteer at a hospital during the civil war and realized the horrendous treatment to the patients. The realization that people did better when they were in their own environment, as opposed to a mental institution was a major turning point in t... ... middle of paper ... ... just the illness as a whole. There are also issues with how broad the spectrum of mental illness is. With each new idea in mental health some hope is given that someone will find treatment. Works Cited Harrison, Erica. "Homelessness Among the Seriously Mentally Ill: What We Can Do to Help." Clarityhumanservices.com. N.p., 5 Mar. 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. Leupo, Kimberly. "The History of Mental Illness." The History of Mental Illness. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. Pollack, Harold. "What Happened to U.S. Mental Health Care after Deinstitutionalization." Washingtonpost.com. N.p., 12 June 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. Reed, Samantha. "How We Got Here: The History of Deinstitutionalization." Roosevelt Institute. N.p., 23 July 2010. Web. 13 Nov. 2013. "Reform Is Needed With The Mental Health Care System In America." Political News. N.p., 7 Sept. 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2013.
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