How Insane Asylums have changed over the years

Psychiatric hospitals are facilities for people who have severe mental illness problems. One of the earliest insane asylums was Bethlem, London, which was made in 1247. people with mental illness were placed in places called asylums which were very crowded institutions that were underfunded. Once a patient was placed in an asylum it was very hard for them to get out. In the 1700s there were a few private asylums where the rich could send their relatives. The poor were out of luck around this time, they would rely on a parish to fund the patient or they could be sent to a workhouse or a prison. During these times, The Bath of Surprise method was used, this was a form of “treatment” where they would take a patient and surprisingly dunk them in an ice cold bath. They would strap them down from hours to even days. 

 In the early 1800s, mental illness was treated by isolation. They believed that people with mental illness were dangerous and shouldn’t be kept in public. Around this time the caretakers at these asylums would put the patient in a small cage with chains for hours to days or until the patient was calm. 

During the early 1900s.These patients also had “treatments” which were usually not effective and would not be done to people today. During these times the patients were usually not put in by themself, instead, their families would send them to the institutions without their consent. Lobotomy was a very common form of treatment. A lobotomy was a traumatic brain surgery where they insert a tool into the brain. Many claimed that this would cure depression, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. Although it was believed that it could work and cure some, it was usually ineffective and inhumane. This treatment  caused patients to end up with irreversible brain damage. 

Currently, insane asylums isn't the term that is used as often. Mental hospitals formed around 1960 when John F. Kennedy signed the Community Mental Health Centers Act. This act stated that states can fund and support the building of mental health hospitals. It created community based care instead of institutional based care. Today many things have changed in these asylums. First of all, patients are now being treated with proper medications and therapy. Today, the caretakers understand how to help and treat mental illness. In mental hospitals they focus more on stabilization. When the patient is stable enough to go into the community they will be discharged. The average stay for mental hospitals today is around 10 days, which is significantly less than in the 1900s where they could be there from months to years, or even their whole lives. 

How would you feel if your family sent you to a mental hospital without you knowing?


Do you think the treatments they used actually worked?


How do you think society treats or should treat people in mental hospitals?

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  • Great topic chocie and well done Catherine! I wouild like to see more of your personal thoughts within your summary.

  • I most definitely think that I would be very alarmed and not comfortable at all. It would break my trust for them completely. I think that it depends on how severe the mental illness is and how extensive the treatments are. I think there is a general bad steryotypical judgment on them.

  • I would be very confused why if they just sent me to a mental hospital without explanation. The Treatments they use can work but I could also see them not working some people's problems just can't be fixed. Society should at least hear whats wrong with people before they start saying things about other people with mental problems. 

  • I would probably not be very happy and I would feel hurt if my family sent me to a mental hospital without me knowing or realizing.  I do not think that the treatments that they used were effective on the patients. I do not think that society treats people in mental hospitals good.

    • I agree. I don't think that many of these treatments that they used worked, I think they just made it worse.

  • I would feel very betrayed if my family sent me to a metal hospital. Hopefully if they did it was necessary, and then someday I would realize this and forgive them. I think most of the treatments back then were not effective, but mental health patients are definetly treated better now.

  • I would not feel very good about my family putting my into a mental hospital without me knowing it was going to happen. I do not think the treatments they used to use worked, but there are much better treatments now. I think society today treats people in mental hospitals better than they used to. 

    • I agree, I also think that most of the treatments were just too harsh and could've made the patients worse.

  • I would be extremley hurt if my family sent me to a mental hospital without my knowing. If it was needed, thats a differnet story. I think some of the treatments they use can be and are effective. I think most people are treated poorly, which is unfair. 

  • If I got sent to a mental hospital without knowing I would be pretty pissed off becuase they didn't talk to me if I need extra help. But in the long run it would prolly help someone out that is sturggling and sufering.

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