Building of the six psychiatric hospitals in Northern Ireland was completed by 1898

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‘Out of sight and out of mind’ was certainly the approach taken to mental health before the late 20th century. There are six psychiatric hospitals in Northern Ireland, St. Luke’s, Armagh (1825); Purdysburn/KHCP Belfast (1829); Gransha, Derry (1829); T&F, Omagh (1853); Downshire, Downpatrick (1869); and Holywell, Antrim (1898), all still open and operating psychiatric hospitals. Mental health policy has developed comprehensively since the 19th century and change is still ongoing however it is still clear that mental health services in Northern Ireland fall considerably behind those in the United Kingdom. This essay will discuss how and most importantly, why mental health policy has developed in Northern Ireland throughout the 19th and 20th century. It will first illustrate life inside the asylums, the policies that supported institutionalisation, and why change was needed. Next it will establish the progression in policy to support community and integrated care; it will examine this change and its effectiveness throughout society. Moving onto the 21st century, it will focus on a few of the main policies established throughout this period. Finally a conclusion will be made, assessing the current policy in Northern Ireland and how far we have to go to enhance the quality of life of those struggling with mental illness. First off, it is important to understand the political and social whereabouts of Northern Ireland from 1898 to gage the changes that have been made in policy. Before 1921, the North and South of Ireland were under British rule. When the government of Ireland Act 1920 partitioned the island of Ireland into two separate states, Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, the North of Ireland remained under British rule while... ... middle of paper ... ...st accessed 17/03/2014. Samuel,M. (2009). Northern Ireland to have first unified mental health law. Available: http://www.communitycare.co.uk/2009/09/10/northern-ireland-to-have-first-unified-mental-health-law/#.UyoQXqh_tR0. Last accessed 16/04/2014. Smith, S & McCulloch, Dr A. (2013). A brief history of specialist mental health services. Available: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/content/assets/PDF/publications/starting-today-background-paper-1.pdf. Last accessed 17/03/2014. Smith, S L, Action Mental Health. (2013). Talk Back: Looking back over 65 years of mental healthcare. Available: http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/content/assets/PDF/publications/talkback-september-2013.pdf?view=Standard. Last accessed 17/03/2014. Tonks, A. (1994). ‘Community Care: The First Year: Community care in Northern Ireland: a promising start’. British Medical Journal. 308 (1). Pages: 839.

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