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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    • I agree, I think that most of the treatments didn't work and some of them were just torture that shouldn't have been done.

  • I would be super confused and kinda freaked out about being sent to a mental hospital. I have not seen a single mental hospital that looks fun and inviting. All of them have bland color scemes and really boring aspects about them. I do not think that mental asylum treatments work. 

    • I agree. I would not want to go to one because they look very uninviting. I also don't think that these treatments worked.

  • I would definitely feel very sad and desperate if they sent me to a psychiatric hospital without my consent and even more so because of the attitudes they had towards the patients. I think that those treatments were only torture for the patients, I don't think that is a way to treat a mental illness. First of all, I think you must understand what the person is suffering from and, depending on their condition, behave with them.

  • if my family sent me to a mental hospital i would be mad because they didnt tell me first. I think some work on some poeple, it just depends on how good it is. I think the should treat them nice and support them. Also give them support and respect and be there for them if they need anything. 

  • I don't think sending a person against their will is okay, unless it's actually medically proven they need to go. I feel bad for anyone struggling with their mental health and hope they never get sent to a mental hospital by their families. I think these people need love, support, and help to feel better. These people need to be treated with dignity and respect, just because they're struggling doesn't mean you should be making their conditions worse by making fun of them or making them feel like they need to go to a mental hospital. 

    • I agree. If the person is showing major signs that they aren't okay then it should be okay for them to send them to these hospitals. On the other hand, if their family just wants them out of the house then thats when they're wrong.

  • I don't think sending anyone to a mental health hospital against their will is fair or ethical. I think the impartial and extreme treatments they used on patients are cause to increase symptoms, rather than decrease them. I think society should recognize people with meantal health struggles as people. In response, society should treat them with respectful care, fair judgment, and compassion while healing. 

  • It would be not good it would be crazy, I think it didnt help they needed more help and do somthing better, . I think that people need to be nicer to people in hospital because that could be you it should be better and niceer becuase of it 

    • I agree. People that were or are in mental hospitals aren't treated the best even though they can't really control it.

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