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A Beautiful Mistreated Mind This Essay Looks At An Often Ignored Aspect Of The Lives Of The Mentally Unwell, Their Treatment.

1818 words - 7 pages

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A Beautiful, Mistreated Mind

Many people consider the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" one of the greatest movies ever made. This is not without reason, as the shocking subject matter and brilliant acting truly personify the horror of the situation as a group of supposedly mentally ill people fight to keep what is left of their sanity under the twisted care of the fiendish Nurse Ratchet. As they hear the native American drums beet while the credits role, many people breathe a sigh of relief and murmur "Thank God that does not happen anymore." However, this movie does not incorporate some of the true horror that the mentally disabled and ill still go through to this day. Those with mental issues, a very misunderstood facet of humanity, are much mistreated, unfortunately, most of all by the people enlisted to care for them. But this problem would be easily fixed if those in power would be even a little more vigilant towards the situation these people are in.

Many people remember with horror the asylums of the past. In the times of ancient Greece, "Whenever there was a plague, `the mentally ill' were forced to live on the outskirts of town…and were stoned to death as part of the ritual purification of the city…called `pharmakos' [which] is the root source of our modern day word, pharmaceutical" (Mentalhealthstigma). This suggests just how ignorant and loathing society is to the mentally unwell if the name one of the most respected medical studies, pharmacy work, is derived from the slaughter. Another example is that though it was created in 1247, the horror of the Bedlam asylum still stays in our minds and speech today (Alvaro). Back then, the belief was that the insane and retarded were possessed by demons or the devil, and they were treated as such, such as being beaten, starved and put out as a freak show for the public (Alvaro). Insane or handicapped people in Nazi establishments were often treated worse than other patients, given tests considered inhumane for animals (Mentalhealthstigma). Even in the 1900's there were many asylums and safe-souses that were known for mistreatment or neglect, including the infamous "Forest Haven". Forest Haven was a place where parents of mentally handicapped and ill children could drop them off. These patients were neglected, however, and put in extremely unsanitary environments, including being within a mile of a cemetery where the graves were often unearthed by erosion. This place closed down in 1991 and its resident were sent to various underfunded, neglectful and/or ignorant safe homes (Boo). Even these were places of terror, so horribly under kept and open to harm for the patient that "…[a patient] tried to commit suicide by running blindly into a busy Southeast Washington street," (Boo) after a sexual assault by one of his fellow inmates. Debatably worse is that some mentally ill or disabled people cannot even...

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