The Treatment Of Mentally Ill People Essay

1785 Words Dec 3rd, 2015 8 Pages
The treatment of mentally ill people has evolved over time as the medical community had increased its understanding of the underlying causes of the disabilities. Asylums, places that housed the mentally ill in the 19th century, used harsh, painful, and inhumane methods to treat their patients. These methods of treatment began to change after Dorothea Dix, a teacher and nurse in the Civil War, began visiting asylums and reporting it to the public what she had witnessed. Dorothea Dix studied these patients and the treatments used on them for nearly her whole life, then helped a movement along to help asylums be better. Her criticisms of the asylum system would begin to change public opinion which was leading to laws being enacted to reform the way mental institutions operate in Massachusetts. The reforms would eventually spread throughout the nation.

When asylums were just starting off, most of the patients were treated as if they were prisoners. asylums had gone by many names, such as “lunatic hospital”, or “lunatic asylum”, through time they became known as an “insane asylum” . Before the mid 18th century, mentally ill people were taken care of by their family members, and in extreme cases, some were thrown in jail. Mental illness was perceived as something was wrong with your morals and spirit; mentally ill people were often shamed and punished quite harshly. In 1752, a few mentally ill had a place to stay. in the basement of the Philadelphia hospital, several rooms were…

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