How Did Dorothea Dix Treat The Mentally Ill

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Dorothea Dix played a major role in improving the treatment of the mentally ill but also suffered many consequences as a result. Having a teaching background, she first took an interest in treating the mentally ill when she accepted a job teaching inmates in an East Cambridge prison, which was at a time when jails were considered a solution for many issues, including housing the mentally ill with no treatment. While teaching there she realized the actions of the workers towards the criminals were inhumane, unfair, and unbearable. She then began visiting many public and private mental illness facilities and documented all that she observed, finding that the conditions were very unsatisfactory. She decided to fight against the conditions even though she knew she would get punished for it, in the hopes to provide treatment for the mentally ill. As a result of all her actions, more funding and expansion of potential hospital institutions and the treatment of the mentally ill was instituted. …show more content…

During this time period, people who were considered mentally ill and could no longer be taken care of by their families would have became the responsibility of the government. The government would traditionally put these people into jails where they did not receive any treatment and were not cared for. Many reformers who saw the inhumaneness of these actions sought to create state hospitals for the mentally ill where they would both be treated and cared for. By the late 1840s, 11 out of the 13 states had adopted this idea and made changes to care for them in existing hospitals, but North Carolina was one of the two states that had not, claiming it was too cost worthy. However, Dorothea Dix would not accept this and was determined to improve the conditions for these people

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