Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum Part 2

 It's very interesting to learn about the evolution of mental health care in America. Click any of these pics to enlarge.

 The closing of these facilities lead to the high numbers of prisoners and homeless we now have in this country.

 A very sad fact is that many of the patients lived here their whole lives and it was the only home they knew.  Suddenly, they were just turned loose having no idea how to live outside of the asylum.  Their families certainly didn't want to take them back.

 It's horrible to think that the practices and beliefs about mental health by the top doctors in the country were almost all wrong.

More tomorrow.


Anonymous said…
They were horrible places!
Here in Sweden we did the same, closed the places and I'm not even sure they hoped for the best. That wasn't any good idea so now most live in group residents but way too many are still homeless and the only plca they really are welcome at is the Salvation Army.

Have a great day!

It's so terrible and saddening how these people were treated. I believe most were test patients to see if different kinds of therapy worked best during that time in history. I can just imagine the horrors these patients went through.
My schizophrenic Auntie was in a mental hospital in the late 1940s - early 1950s. She had LOTS of electroshock treatments. And then finally a partial frontal lobotomy. After that, she was able to live a quiet life at home until she died well into her 70s or 80s. The lobotomy (which thankfully was successful in her case) produced basically the same stabilizing effect as today's anti-psychotic drugs. It restricted her emotional range so she no longer felt extremes of "up" or "down." When I was a kid, she used to let me feel her lobotomy scars by her temples. Her skull had not healed evenly so there were ridges there.
Kim Campbell said…
My step grandmother had electroshock treatment. Only a few and successful. She would stop taking her medicine when she felt better. She was schizophrenic. My great grandfather suffered from something and spent time in the mental hospital. Kim
It is a sad commentary on how we have always treated the mentally ill in this country.