American Insane Asylums In The Mid 1900s

1063 words - 5 pages

Asylums of the 20th century were deplorable places created for insane people because of the ignorance of the medical community about helping or treating the mentally ill, the way the asylums were use to get the insane out of the way, and the sheer fact that the hospitals felt the need to withhold the information about what was going on inside the institutions from the public. Some Americans today may believe that in the last few decades we had treated our patients suffering with mental illness with dignity and respect. However, the conditions in which many of them lived and the treatment they received were worse than that of animals. Treatments of these patients were so inhumane that, in ...view middle of the document...

One has to wonder why she did not call for help, but part of the legend that has not been confirmed is that she was perhaps a deaf mute. It is possible that this is true, but it is also possible that ultimately, she was mentally ill and could not reason properly. Margaret Schilling’s story is just one of the many supporting the idea that the asylums of the 20th century were deplorable places created for insane people because of the ignorance of the medical community about helping or treating the mentally ill, the way the asylums were used just to get the insane out of the way, and the sheer fact that the hospitals felt the need to withhold the information about what was going on inside the institutions from the public.

Besides the fact that almost all patients had harsh treatments, of course, women were treated harshly in these wards. Women had always had a lower place in society, being dubbed incapable of working a ‘man’s job’ and being forced to stay home with the children and do tasks such as cook, clean, and so on. Frequently, in the early 1800s, women and girls were submitted to asylums for simply not obeying or listening to their husbands and fathers. If a woman so as dared to speak out and go ‘against the norm’, she had a risk of being placed into an asylum. Children were submitted for ludicrous reasons, such as disobedience, unwanted pregnancies, and illnesses, such as Autism, Down’s Syndrome, etc. If a child had been submitted, often the families would tell others that the child had died, rather admit the fact that they had submitted into a mental hospital. Children who had been submitted into asylums would often be announced as deceased. In turn, the death would be published at an obituary, which is confusing for researchers, due to the fact that they had been alive in the asylum or had been released and continued life for much longer than their publicly published death date.
Since medical knowledge was so undeveloped, other reasons that patients had been submitted were common things we deal with today such as alcoholism, depression, and for women, menopause, which are all...

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