Acts of Conscience : World War II, Mental Institutions, and Religious ObjectorsIn the mid- to late 1940s, a group of young men rattled the psychiatric establishment by beaming a public spotlight on the squalid conditions and brutality in our nation's mental hospitals and training schools for people with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities. Bringing the abuses to the attention of newspapers and magazines across the country, they led a reform effort to change public attitudes and to improve the training and status of institutional staff. Prominent Americans, including Eleanor Roosevelt, ACLU founder Roger Baldwin, author Pearl S. Buck, actress Helen Hayes, and African-American activist Mary McLeod Bethune, supported the efforts of the young men. These young men were among the 12,000 World War II conscientious objectors who chose to perform civilian public service as an alternative to fighting in what is widely regarded as America's "good war." Three thousand of these men volunteered to work at state institutions, where they found conditions appalling. Acting on conscience a second time, they challenged America's treatment of its citizens with severe disabilities. Acts of Conscience brings to light the extraordinary efforts of these courageous men, drawing upon extensive archival research, interviews, and personal correspondence. The World War II conscientious objectors were not the first to expose public institutions, and they would not be the last. What distinguishes them from reformers of other eras is that their activities have faded from professional and popular memory. Steven J. Taylor's moving account is an indispensable contribution to the historical record.
Asylum on the Hill : History of A Healing Landscape2013 Ohioana Book Award Finalist Asylum on the Hill is the story of a great American experiment in psychiatry, a revolution in care for those with mental illness, as seen through the example of the Athens Lunatic Asylum. Built in southeast Ohio after the Civil War, the asylum embodied the nineteenth-century "gold standard" specifications of moral treatment. Stories of patients and their families, politicians, caregivers, and community illustrate how a village in the coalfields of the Hocking River valley responded to a national movement to provide compassionate care based on a curative landscape, exposure to the arts, outdoor exercise, useful occupation, and personal attention from a physician. Katherine Ziff's compelling presentation of America's nineteenth-century asylum movement shows how the Athens Lunatic Asylum accommodated political, economic, community, family, and individual needs and left an architectural legacy that has been uniquely renovated and repurposed. Incorporating rare photos, letters, maps, and records, Asylum on the Hill is a fascinating glimpse into psychiatric history.
The Best Specimen of a Tyrant : The Ambitious Dr. Abraham Van Norstrand and the Wisconsin Insane HospitalDuring the Civil War, Dr. Abraham Van Norstrand organized and ran one of the army's biggest hospitals but resigned when dark rumors surfaced about him. Back home in Wisconsin, he accepted with mixed feelings the one prestigious position available to him: superintendent of the state's first hospital for the insane. The story of his rise and fall typifies the clash between the great expectations and hard choices that have bedeviled public mental hospitals from the beginning. Book jacket.
Conscience and Convenience : The Asylum and Its Alternatives in Progressive AmericaConscience and Conveniencewas quickly recognized for its masterly depiction and interpretation of a major period of reform history. This history begins in a social context in which treatment and rehabilitation were emerging as predominant after America's prisons and asylums had been broadly acknowledged to be little more than embarrassing failures. The resulting progressive agenda was evident: to develop new, more humane and effective strategies for the criminal, delinquent, and mentally ill. The results, as Rothman documents, did not turn out as reformers had planned. For adult criminal offenders, such individual treatment could be accomplished only through the provision of broad discretionary authority, whereby choices could be made between probation, parole, indeterminate sentencing, and, as a measure of last resort, incarceration in totally redesigned prisons. For delinquents, the juvenile court served as a surrogate parent and accelerated and intensified individual treatment by providing for a series of community-based individual and family services, with the newly designed, school-like reformatories being used for only the most intractable cases. For the mentally ill, psychiatrists chose between outpatient treatments, short-term intensive care, or as last resort, long-term care in mental hospitals with new cottage and family-like arrangements. Rothman shows the consequences of these reforms as unmitigated disasters. Despite benevolent intentions, the actual outcome of reform efforts was to take the earlier failures of prisons and asylums to new, more ominous heights. In this updated edition, Rothman chronicles and examines incarceration of the criminal, the deviant, and the dependent in U.S. society, with a focus on how and why these methods have persisted and expanded for over a century and a half despite longstanding evidence of their failures and abuses.
The Discovery of the Asylum : Social Order and Disorder in the New RepublicThis is a masterful effort to recognize and place the prison and asylums in their social contexts. Rothman shows that the complexity of their history can be unraveled and usefully interpreted. By identifying the salient influences that converged in the tumultuous 1820s and 1830s that led to a particular ideology in the development of prisons and asylums, Rothman provides a compelling argument that is historically informed and socially instructive. He weaves a comprehensive story that sets forth and portrays a series of interrelated events, influences, and circumstances that are shown to be connected to the development of prisons and asylums. Rothman demonstrates that meaningful historical interpretation must be based upon not one but a series of historical events and circumstances, their connections and ultimate consequences. Thus, the history of prisons and asylums in the youthful United States is revealed to be complex but not so complex that it cannot be disentangled, described, understood, and applied. This reissue of a classic study addresses a core concern of social historians and criminal justice professionals: Why in the early nineteenth century did a single generation of Americans resort for the first time to institutional care for its convicts, mentally ill, juvenile delinquents, orphans, and adult poor? Rothman's compelling analysis links this phenomenon to a desperate effort by democratic society to instill a new social order as it perceived the loosening of family, church, and community bonds. As debate persists on the wisdom and effectiveness of these inherited solutions, The Discovery of the Asylumoffers a fascinating reflection on our past as well as a source of inspiration for a new century of students and professionals in criminal justice, corrections, social history, and law enforcement.
Elizabeth Packard : A Noble FightElizabeth Packard's story is one of courage and accomplishment in the face of injustice and heartbreak. In 1860, her husband, a strong-willed Calvinist minister, committed her to an Illinois insane asylum in an effort to protect their six children and his church from what he considered her heretical religious ideas. Upon her release three years later (as her husband sought to return her to an asylum), Packard obtained a jury trial and was declared sane. Before the trial ended, however, her husband sold their home and left for Massachusetts with their young children and her personal property. His actions were perfectly legal under Illinois and Massachusetts law; Packard had no legal recourse by which to recover her children and property. This experience in the legal system, along with her experience as an asylum patient, launched Packard into a career as an advocate for the civil rights of married women and the mentally ill. She wrote numerous books and lobbied legislatures literally from coast to coast advocating more stringent commitment laws, protections for the rights of asylum patients, and laws to give married women equal rights in matters of child custody, property, and earnings. Despite strong opposition from the psychiatric community, Packard's laws were passed in state after state, with lasting impact on commitment and care of the mentally ill in the United States. Packard's life demonstrates how dissonant streams of American social and intellectual history led to conflict between the freethinking Packard, her Calvinist husband, her asylum doctor, and America's fledgling psychiatric profession. It is this conflict--along with her personal battle to transcend the stigma of insanity and regain custody of her children--that makes Elizabeth Packard's story both forceful and compelling.
Evolution of a Missouri Asylum : Fulton State Hospital, 1851-2006Fulton State Hospital was not only Missouri's first state mental asylum but also the first such institution west of the Mississippi. In tracing its founding and evolution over a century and a half, this book sheds light on both a neglected aspect of the state's history and the development of mental health care in America. It acknowledges the noble aspirations of Fulton State Hospital--as well as its failures, throughout much of its existence, to transform those aspirations into realities. This institutional history of the hospital traces the debates surrounding its creation (as the State Lunatic Asylum) in a time when mental illness was barely understood. Although the Fulton hospital was initially conceived as a treatment facility, it quickly transformed into a primarily custodial institution. It existed as a self-sufficient establishment until the mid-twentieth century, dependent on patient labor and even producing its own food. But for the most socially disadvantaged and for the severely delusional, life at Fulton was anything but therapeutic. The book describes not only the lofty goals of professionals dedicated to treating the mentally ill but also an institution once clouded by overcrowding, financial mismanagement, political cronyism, and wrongful confinement. It considers segregation within the hospital, where the first black doctor was hired in 1960 and where racism nevertheless continued to flourish, and it describes how, even after the 1921 Eleemosynary Act, the patronage system continued to plague Fulton for two more decades. The authors reveal changing attitudes toward new treatments in the mid-twentieth century as psychotherapy and drugs became common, and decisions at Fulton regarding patient care are described within the context of progress in Europe and the eastern United States. The book addresses the complexities facing the physician-superintendents who supervised both medical therapies and administrative matters, depicting ongoing tension between hospital finances and state support and showing the difficulties state institutions faced in a "low tax/low public service" environment. As Fulton State Hospital enters the twenty-first century, clients have become active in the development of institutional policies--a far cry from the warehousing of patients a hundred years ago. In tracing these seismic shifts in mental health care, this book offers an eye-opening exploration of how one state has sought to care for its citizens.
Gracefully Insane : The Rise and Fall of America's Premier Mental HospitalIts landscaped ground, chosen by Frederick Law Olmsted and dotted with Tudor mansions, could belong to a New England prep school. There are no fences, no guards, no locked gates. But McLean Hospital is a mental institution-one of the most famous, most elite, and once most luxurious in America. McLean "alumni" include Olmsted himself, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, James Taylor and Ray Charles, as well as (more secretly) other notables from among the rich and famous. In its "golden age," McLean provided as genteel an environment for the treatment of mental illness as one could imagine. But the golden age is over, and a downsized, downscale McLean-despite its affiliation with Harvard University-is struggling to stay afloat. Gracefully Insane, by Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam, is a fascinating and emotional biography of McLean Hospital from its founding in 1817 through today. It is filled with stories about patients and doctors: the Ralph Waldo Emerson protégé whose brilliance disappeared along with his madness; Anne Sexton's poetry seminar, and many more. The story of McLean is also the story of the hopes and failures of psychology and psychotherapy; of the evolution of attitudes about mental illness, of approaches to treatment, and of the economic pressures that are making McLean-and other institutions like it-relics of a bygone age. This is a compelling and often oddly poignant reading for fans of books like Plath's The Bell Jar and Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted (both inspired by their author's stays at McLean) and for anyone interested in the history of medicine or psychotherapy, or the social history of New England.
Mad in America : Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally IllSchizophrenics in the United States currently fare worse than patients in the world's poorest countries. In Mad in America, medical journalist Robert Whitaker argues that modern treatments for the severely mentally ill are just old medicine in new bottles, and that we as a society are deeply deluded about their efficacy. The widespread use of lobotomies in the 1920s and 1930s gave way in the 1950s to electroshock and a wave of new drugs. In what is perhaps Whitaker's most damning revelation, Mad in America examines how drug companies in the 1980s and 1990s skewed their studies to prove that new antipsychotic drugs were more effective than the old, while keeping patients in the dark about dangerous side effects.A haunting, deeply compassionate book-now revised with a new introduction-Mad in America raises important questions about our obligations to the mad, the meaning of "insanity," and what we value most about the human mind.
Madness : American Protestant Responses to Mental IllnessMadness is a sin. Those with emotional disabilities are shunned. Mental illness is not the church's problem. All three claims are wrong. In Madness , Heather H. Vacek traces the history of Protestant reactions to mental illness in America. She reveals how two distinct forces combined to thwart Christian care for the whole person. The professionalization of medicine worked to restrict the sphere of Christian authority to the private and spiritual realms, consigning healing and careâboth physical and mentalâto secular, medical specialists. Equally influential, a theological legacy that linked illness with sin deepened the social stigma surrounding people with a mental illness. The Protestant church, reluctant to engage sufferers lest it, too, be tainted by association, willingly abdicated care for people with a mental illness to secular professionals. While inattention formed the general rule, five historical exceptions to the pattern of benign neglect exemplify Protestant efforts to claim a distinctly Christian response. A close examination of the lives and work of colonial clergyman Cotton Mather, Revolutionary era physician Benjamin Rush, nineteenth-century activist Dorothea Dix, pastor and patient Anton Boisen, and psychiatrist Karl Menninger maps both the range and the progression of attentive Protestant care. Vacek chronicles Protestant attempts to make theological sense of sickness (Mather), to craft care as Christian vocation (Rush), to advocate for the helpless (Dix), to reclaim religious authority (Boisen), and to plead for people with a mental illness (Menninger). Vacek's historical narrative forms the basis for her theological reflection about contemporary Christian care of people with a mental illness and Christian understanding of mental illness. By demonstrating the gravity of what appearedâand failed to appearâon clerical and congregational agendas, Vacek explores how Christians should navigate the ever-shifting lines of cultural authority as they care for those who suffer.
Madness : An American History of Mental Illness and Its Treatment"Madness" is, of course, personally experienced, but because of its intimate relationship to the sociocultural context, it is also socially constructed, culturally represented and socially controlled--all of which make it a topic rife for sociological analysis. Using a range of historical and contemporary textual material, this work exercises the sociological imagination to explore some of the most perplexing questions in the history of madness, including why some behaviors, thoughts and emotions are labeled mad while others are not; why they are labeled mad in one historical period and not another; why the label of mad is applied to some types of people and not others; by whom the label is applied, and with what consequences.
Mental Institutions in America : Social Policy To 1875Mental Institutions in America: Social Policy to 1875 examines how American society responded to complex problems arising out of mental illness in the nineteenth century. All societies have had to confront sickness, disease, and dependency, and have developed their own ways of dealing with these phenomena. The mental hospital became the characteristic institution charged with the responsibility of providing care and treatment for individuals seemingly incapable of caring for themselves during protracted periods of incapacitation.The services rendered by the hospital were of benefit not merely to the afflicted individual but to the community. Such an institution embodied a series of moral imperatives by providing humane and scientific treatment of disabled individuals, many of whose families were unable to care for them at home or to pay the high costs of private institutional care. Yet the mental hospital has always been more than simply an institution that offered care and treatment for the sick and disabled. Its structure and functions have usually been linked with a variety of external economic, political, social, and intellectual forces, if only because the way in which a society handled problems of disease and dependency was partly governed by its social structure and values.The definition of disease, the criteria for institutionalization, the financial and administrative structures governing hospitals, the nature of the decision-making process, differential care and treatment of various socio-economic groups were issues that transcended strictly medical and scientific considerations. Mental Institutions in America attempts to interpret the mental hospital as a social as well as a medical institution and to illuminate the evolution of policy toward dependent groups such as the mentally ill. This classic text brilliantly studies the past in depth and on its own terms.
American Psychosis by E. Fuller Torrey*Also available in print
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered an historic speech on mental illness and retardation. He described sweeping new programs to replace "the shabby treatment of the many millions of the mentally disabled in custodial institutions" with treatment in community mental health centers.This movement, later referred to as "deinstitutionalization," continues to impact mental health care. Though he never publicly acknowledged it, the program was a tribute to Kennedy's sister Rosemary, who was born mildly retarded and developed a schizophrenia-like illness. Terrified she'd becomepregnant, Joseph Kennedy arranged for his daughter to receive a lobotomy, which was a disaster and left her severely retarded.Fifty years after Kennedy's speech, E. Fuller Torrey's book provides an inside perspective on the birth of the federal mental health program. On staff at the National Institute of Mental Health when the program was being developed and implemented, Torrey draws on his own first-hand account of thecreation and launch of the program, extensive research, one-on-one interviews with people involved, and recently unearthed audiotapes of interviews with major figures involved in the legislation. As such, this book provides historical material previously unavailable to the public.Torrey examines the Kennedys' involvement in the policy, the role of major players, the responsibility of the state versus the federal government in caring for the mentally ill, the political maneuverings required to pass the legislation, and how closing institutions resulted not in better care - aswas the aim - but in underfunded programs, neglect, and higher rates of community violence. Many now wonder why public mental illness services are so ineffective. At least one-third of the homeless are seriously mentally ill, jails and prisons are grossly overcrowded, largely because the seriouslymentally ill constitute 20 percent of prisoners, and public facilities are overrun by untreated individuals. As Torrey argues, it is imperative to understand how we got here in order to move forward towards providing better care for the most vulnerable.
Breaking the ChainsRecounts Dorothea Dix's lifelong fight to improve the lives of others, such as her own family, the mentally ill, prisoners, the physically ill, and the retarded.
The Lives They Left Behind : Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic "The Lives They Left Behind is a deeply moving testament to the human side of mental illness, and of the narrow margin which so often separates the sane from the mad. It is a remarkable portrait, too, of the life of a psychiatric asylum--the sort of community in which, for better and for worse, hundreds of thousands of people lived out their lives. Darby Penney and Peter Stastny's careful historical (almost archaeological) and biographical reconstructions give us unique insight into these lives which would otherwise be lost and, indeed, unimaginable to the rest of us."--Oliver Sacks, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, Columbia University Artist, and author of Musicophilia "The haunting thing about the suitcase owners is that it's so easy to identify with them."--Newsweek "In their poignant detail the items helped rescue these individuals from the dark sprawl of anonymity."--The New York Times "[The authors] spent 10 years piecing together . . . the lives these patients lived before they were nightmarishly stripped of their identities."--Newsday More than four hundred abandoned suitcases filled with patients' belongings were found when Willard Psychiatric Center closed in 1995 after 125 years of operation. They are skillfully examined here and compared to the written record to create a moving--and devastating--group portrait of twentieth-century American psychiatric care.
The Mad Among Us : A History of the Care of America's Mentally IllAmericans want to be humane toward the mentally ill, yet we have always been divided about what is best for them and for society. Now, the foremost historian of the care of the mentally ill compellingly recounts our various attempts to solve this ever-present dilemma. In the first comprehensive one-volume history of the treatment of the mentally ill, Gerald Grob begins with colonial America, when families and local communities accepted responsibility for their mentally ill members. Their solutions varied, from confinement under lock and key, to granting mentally ill persons a wide measure of autonomy. As American society grew larger and more complex, the first mental hospitals were created to deal with growing numbers of the severely and persistently mentally ill. Grob brings to life the charismatic and innovative individuals who administered these hospitals and shows how they were successful at first in providing humane care and treatment. But under the pressure of too many patients and too few resources, the hospitals subsequently deteriorated into custodial institutions, and Grob charts this transformation. He traces the growth of the psychiatric profession, the change of the mental health field during World War Il, and the use of controversial shock therapies, drugs, and lobotomies. Mounting criticism of some of these techniques and of mental institutions as inhumane places led to the emptying of the hospitals and a new emphasis on community care and treatment. Americans daily encounter the pitiful sight of homeless, mentally ill people in the streets of our cities, and wonder how it came to be this way. Grob shows that while many patients benefited from the new community policies,there arose a new group of mentally ill substance abusers who desperately need treatment but who resist it. He argues that these people, and not deinstitutionalized patients, make up most of the disturbed homeless who confront us today. Their presence demands new solutions, and Grob's definitive history points the way. It is at once an indispensable reference and a call for a humane and balanced policy in the future.
Madness: a Very Short Introduction by Andrew ScullMadness is something that frightens and fascinates us all. It is a word with which we are universally familiar, and a condition that haunts the human imagination. Through the centuries, in poetry and in prose, in drama and in the visual arts, its depredations are on display for all to see.A whole industry has grown up, devoted to its management and suppression. Madness profoundly disturbs our common sense assumptions; threatens the social order, both symbolically and practically; creates almost unbearable disruptions in the texture of daily living; and turns our experience and ourexpectations upside down. Lunacy, insanity, psychosis, mental illness - whatever term we prefer, its referents are disturbances of reason, the passions, and human action that frighten, create chaos, and yet sometimes amuse; that mark a gulf between the common sense reality most of us embrace, andthe discordant version some humans appear to experience.Social responses to madness, our interpretations of what madness is, and our notions of what is to be done about it have varied remarkably over the centuries. In this Very Short Introduction, Andrew Scull provides a provocative and entertaining examination of the social, cultural, medical, andartistic responses to mental disturbance across more than two millennia, concluding with some observations on the contemporary accounts of mental illness.
Madness in Civilization by Andrew ScullA beautifully illustrated history of the human encounter with unreason The loss of reason, a sense of alienation from the commonsense world we all like to imagine we inhabit, the shattering emotional turmoil that seizes hold and won't let go--these are some of the traits we associate with madness. Today, mental disturbance is most commonly viewed through a medical lens, but societies have also sought to make sense of it through religion or the supernatural, or by constructing psychological or social explanations in an effort to tame the demons of unreason. Madness in Civilization traces the long and complex history of this affliction and our attempts to treat it. Beautifully illustrated throughout, Madness in Civilization takes readers from antiquity to today, painting a vivid and often harrowing portrait of the different ways that cultures around the world have interpreted and responded to the seemingly irrational, psychotic, and insane. From the Bible to Sigmund Freud, from exorcism to mesmerism, from Bedlam to Victorian asylums, from the theory of humors to modern pharmacology, the book explores the manifestations and meanings of madness, its challenges and consequences, and our varied responses to it. It also looks at how insanity has haunted the imaginations of artists and writers and describes the profound influence it has had on the arts, from drama, opera, and the novel to drawing, painting, and sculpture. Written by one of the world's preeminent historians of psychiatry, Madness in Civilization is a panoramic history of the human encounter with unreason.