Mental healthcare has a long and murky past in the United States. In the early 1900s, patients could live in institutions for many years. The treatments and conditions were, at times, inhumane. Legislation in the 1980s and 1990s created programs to protect this vulnerable population from abuse and discrimination. In the last 20 years, mental health advocacy groups and legislators have made gains in bringing attention to the disparity between physical and mental health programs. However, diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses continues to be less than optimal. Mental health disparities continue to exist in all areas of the world.
As a result of the lack of regulation in state mental institutions, most patients were not just abused and harassed, but also did not experience the treatment they came to these places for. While the maltreatment of patients did end with the downsizing and closing of these institutions in the 1970’s, the mental health care system in America merely shifted from patients being locked up in mental institutions to patients being locked up in actual prisons. The funds that were supposed to be saved from closing these mental institutions was never really pumped back into treating the mentally ill community. As a result, many mentally ill people were rushed out of mental institutions and exposed back into the real world with no help where they ended up either homeless, dead, or in trouble with the law. Judges even today are still forced to sentence those in the latter category to prison since there are few better options for mentally ill individuals to receive the treatment they need. The fact that America, even today, has not found a proper answer to treat the mentally ill really speaks about the flaws in our
Mental Health is an issue that millions of individuals are facing here in the United States. Illnesses such as anxiety and panic attacks, borderline personality disorder, drug and alcohol addiction, and depression affect the lives of so many.
Mental illness, today we are surround by a broad array of types of mental illnesses and new discoveries in this field every day. Up till the mid 1800’s there was no speak of personality disorder, in fact there was only two type of mental illness recognized. Those two illnesses as defined by Dr. Sam Vaknin (2010), “”delirium” or “manial”- were depression (melancholy), psychoses, and delusions.” It was later in 1835 when J. C. Pritchard the British Physician working at Bristol Infirmary Hospital published his work titled “Treatise on Insanity and Other Disorder of the Mind” this opened the door to the world of personality disorder. There were many story and changes to his theories and mental illness and it was then when Henry Maudsley in 1885 put theses theories to work and applied to a patient. This form of mental illness has since grown into the many different types of personality disorder that we know today. Like the evolution of the illness itself there has been a significant change in the way this illness is diagnosed and treated.
About 75-80 million people in the United States are mentally ill to some extent (For the Mentally Ill, Finding Treatment Grows Harder). Many people are unaware of the treatments for the mentally ill and how few resources are available. Yes, if society looks from where society has come with the development of treatments, it has come a long ways. There is still more knowledge to be uncovered to ensure the United States gives the mentally ill care equal to what the United States gives the physically ill. Even though research has advanced immensely in the understanding of sanity vs. insanity, the United States needs to do more for those who are mentally ill through diagnosis and aid.
In the book “The Mad Among Us-A History of the Care of American’s Mentally Ill,” the author Gerald Grob, tells a very detailed accounting of how our mental health system in the United States has struggled to understand and treat the mentally ill population. It covers the many different approaches that leaders in the field of mental health at the time used but reading it was like trying to read a food label. It is regurgitated in a manner that while all of the facts are there, it lacks any sense humanity. While this may be more of a comment on the author or the style of the author, it also is telling of the method in which much of the policy and practice has come to be. It is hard to put together without some sense of a story to support the action.
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.
Although about 450 million people in the world currently are suffering from a mental illness, many untreated, the topic still remains taboo in modern society (Mental Health). For years, people with mental illnesses have been shut away or institutionalized, and despite cultural progression in many areas, mental illnesses are still shamed and rarely brought to light outside of the psychiatric community. The many different forms in which mental illness can occur are incredibly prevalent in the world today, and there is a substantial debate about the way that they should be handled. Some people are of the opinion that mental illness is merely a variance in perception and that it either can be fixed through therapy or should not be treated at all, and that treatment can have negative side effects. Other groups of people believe that mental illness is a very serious affliction and should be treated as a disease through a combination of counselling and medication because people suffering from an untreated mental illness are a danger to themselves and society as a whole. This debate is a popular one, discussed everywhere from the medical field to the dinner table, and it is such because of the numerous lives it affects on the well-being of fellow members of society and the economy. People suffering from mental illnesses are afflicted with anything from delusions, to manic periods, to periods of deep emotional darkness due to experiences and brain chemistry (Johnson). Due to the negative effects untreated mental illness has been proven to have on the human well-being and society as a whole, medication should most certainly be seen as a valid and sometimes necessary way to treat those who suffer from mental illnesses.
These facilities provided “custodial care”, meaning they served as supervised shelter or confinement, rather than a source of effective treatment (Chow & Priebe, 2013; Glazer, 1992). Conditions were unfavorable and not much was being done to alleviate the state of the mentally ill. After much pressure from social activists to combat the issue of the poor living conditions of the mentally ill, the United States government eventually provided land and funding for the establishment of over 30 state psychiatric hospitals by the end of the 19th century (Grob, 1994; Unite for Sight, n.d.). Under this system of institutional care, the mentally ill could receive care and treatment from professional staff in a more structured environment, which seemed more promising than previous solutions. However, many of these institutions were underfunded, overcrowded, and operating with inadequate staff, leaving room for poor living conditions, the abuse of patients, and frequent human rights violations (Chow & Priebe, 2013; Dowdall, 1999; Unite for Sight, nd.). These factors, combined with the development of psychiatric drugs between the 1930’s and the 1950’s, drove the movement towards deinstitutionalization (Dowdall, 1999; Smoyak,
As science has evolved, so have treatments for mental illnesses have over time. The medical model is described as the view that psychological disorders are medical diseases with a biological origin (King, 2010, pg. 413). Abnormal behavior that categorizes some disorders can be impacted by biological factors such as genes, psychological factors such as childhood experiences, and even sociocultural factors such as gender and race (King, 2010). Treatments such as psychosurgery (lobotomy) , drug therapy (pharmaceuticals), electroconclusive therapy, and psychoanalysis are used to treat a wide range of psychological disorders. Back then, the public’s negative views on mental illnesses also went as far to associate with the people who treated it; psychiatrists. “Nunnally (1961) found that the public evaluated professionals who treated mental disorders significantly more negatively than those who treat physical disorders,” (Phelan, Link, Stueve, & Pescosolido, 2000, pg. 189). People back then didn’t see the point in “paying to be told that they were crazy”. However, in today’s society, it is now acceptable to seek help from psychiatric professionals; we are seeing more and more people seek mental health treatment. “In terms of facility-based records of utilization (Manderscheid and Henderson 1998), the data suggest that the rate of utilization of professional mental health services has at least doubled and maybe tripled, between the 1950’s and today,” (Phelan, Link, Stueve, & Pescosolido, 2000, pg. 189). In the 1950’s, neuroleptic drugs like Thorazine were introduced to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia. These drugs block a neurotransmitter called dopamine from getting to the brain, which in turn reduce schizophrenic symptoms, however there are some side effects such as substantial twitching of the neck, arms, and legs, and even dysphoria or lack of pleasure. (King, 2010, pg.
Until the middle of the last century, public mental health in the United States had been the responsibility, for the most part, of individual states, who chose to deal with their most profoundly mentally-ill by housing them safely and with almost total asylum in large state mental hospitals. Free of the stresses we all face in our lives, the mentally-ill faced much better prospects for peaceful lives and even recovery than they would in their conditions in ordinary society. In the hospitals, doctors were always accessible for help, patients were assured food and care, and they could be monitored to insure they never became a danger to themselves or others. Our nation’s state hospital system was a stable, efficient way to help improve the lives of our mentally disabled.
Mental illness has been around as long as people have been. However, the movement really started in the 19th century during industrialization. The Western countries saw an immense increase in the number and size of insane asylums, during what was known as “the great confinement” or the “asylum era” (Torrey, Stieber, Ezekiel, Wolfe, Sharfstein, Noble, Flynn Criminalizing the Seriously Mentally Ill). Laws were starting to be made to pressure authorities to face the people who were deemed insane by family members and hospital administrators. Because of the overpopulation in the institutions, treatment became more impersonal and had a complex mix of mental and social-economic problems. During this time the term “psychiatry” was identified as the medical specialty for the people who had the job as asylum superintendents. These superintendents assumed managerial roles in asylums for people who were considered “alienated” from society; people with less serious conditions wer...
".. asylums based on the true meaning of the word: places of sancuary and safety for vulnerable people" "..Not the dismal instituitions that were shuttered in the past.."(Room for Debate). In the article, Psychiatric institutions Are a Necessity it provides sufficient information in order to bring back thses instituitons. This artcle, will make you see that the mentall ill are not crimminals or animals, but people who suffer from an illness that requiers a cure and attention. In the article, Should the U.S. Bring Back Psychiatric Asylums, as assistant professor of medical ethics,health policy , and psychiatty states " that the care should be "designed in collaboration with the patient".Thsi is said because there is many patients who require a certian type of care, not the same traumatic care from the early 1970s.(Should the U.S. Bring Back PSychiatrc Asylums ) . However, in the article "History of Psychiatric Hospitals reads that today there is a small amount of private psychiatric hospitals that deliver care and treatment "through a web of services including crisis services, short-term ..." In addition, there are "services that range from twenty-four- hour assistant living environments to clinics and clinicians ... that offer..psycho-therapeutic treatments" (History of Psychiatric Hospitals). What this means is that now in today's world, we somewhat provide treatment in clinics and hospitals, however, we need more than that for those who still need more attention then the rest. "asylums...might be still needed for the most vulnerable individuals who need supportive living environments" For
Society and communities had to work together to take care of the mentally ill, but they began to be unable due to the rise of the number of the mentally ill (Shatkin). It was only in the 19th century that the mentally ill were taken care of by state asylums, which caused the amount of asylums to increase (Shatkin). As time passed, communities began to once again take care of the mentally ill, partially due to Milieu Therapy. Milieu Therapy suggested that the mentally ill should reside in communities were everybody supported the mentally ill, and the result was a decrease in use of mental institutions. However, once patients were deinstitutionalized, some communities failed to adapt to the mentally ill’s lifestyles, leaving them often homeless, without a job, and having little life skills (Dual Diagnosis). Since these former patients would often turn to crime to try and fix their troubles, doctors in this modern era try to partner with their patients and actually help them, unlike the communities that would try to push the mentally ill to the
Mental disorders and illnesses are highly stigmatized, and this is causing people to hide away in silence. Milena Bimpong addresses that “In the United States, about 43.8 billion adults have a mental illness – this is equal to one in five adults. And among these adults,