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On The Construction, Organization And General Arrangements Of Hospitals For The Insane (1854)

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Dr. Thomas Kirkbride was born in 1809 in Pennsylvania. He went to the University of Pennsylvania Medical School originally intending to become a surgeon. However, in 1840 after his training and internship at Friends‘ Asylum, he was offered to become the superintendent of the newly established Pennsylvania Hospital of the Insane. "His ambition, intellect, and strong sense of purpose enabled him to use that position to become one of the most prominent authorities on mental health care in the latter half of the nineteenth century." He soon became the founding member of the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane, and later was elected the president of the American Psychiatric Association. From his involvement in these organizations and from his writings, he promoted a standardized method of hospital construction and mental health treatment for the insane which is commonly known as "The Kirkbride Plan." He wrote many articles and reviews for medical journals and also published three books. His third book, On the Construction, Organization, and General Arrangements of Hospitals for the Insane (1854), was a very technical and thorough collection of his theories on the topic. Dr. Thomas Kirkbride's theories on the architecture, activities, and medical treatment for the mentally ill were the precedents that formed how the mentally ill were treated in the United States society.

Before Kirkbride's standardized methods for mental hospitals, those with mental illness suffered crude and inhuman treatment. Beginning in Colonial America society, people suffering from mental illness were referred to as lunatics. Colonists viewed lunatics as being possessed by the devil, and usually were removed from societ...

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... built according to Kirkbride's plan has failed to serve its purpose into the 21st century, each building was apart of a humanitarian movement to improve the quality and effectiveness of mental healthcare in the United States. Dr. Thomas Kirkbride was instrumental in driving forward ethical and human treatment for the mentally ill and the idea that they are normal human beings with much to offer.

Greenwood, Richard E. 2002. KIRKBRIDE'S HOSPITAL. University City Historical Society. .

Kirkbride Buildings. 2004. .

Kirkbride, Dr. Thomas. On the Construction, Organization and General Arrangements of Hospitals for the Insane. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippencott & Co., 1854.

Klos, Stan. 2000. Thomas Story Kirkbride. .

Leupo , Kimberly. "History of Mental Health." December 2001. Ohio University. .

Roberts , Andrew. March 2001. Mental Health History. .
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