New Article: From Beauty to Despair: The Rise and Fall of the American State Hospital

From time to time PsychOdyssey comes across important information that sets the context for the work we do helping families navigate the maelstrom of mental illness. Here is just such an article, by Lawrence Osborn about the “tumultuous” 200 year history of the American state mental hospital system. From inspired beginnings under Thomas Kirkbride with “moral treatment” and “therapeutic beauty”, through the later years of social reformer Dorothea Dix, descending from overcrowding and underfunding to “custodial care”, then to the preventive efforts of “mental hygiene”, through the dark days of experimental psychosurgery, then to the pharmacological innovations in the 1950s, and then to the deinstitutionalization of the 1960s, the American state mental hospitals have experienced its own tormented psychodyssey. Osborne’s short history frames the context for mental health care in America today. As such, it deserves attention of all family members in the maelstrom. See Osborn’s article here: From Beauty to Despair–The Rise and Fall of the American State Mental Hospital. See all of PsychOdyssey’s recommended articles here.

Also see our other pages where we are posting Osborn’s important article: under “Learn…” at PyschOdyssey Academy, History of Mental Illness Treatment and under “Advocate…” , the New Jersey State Hospital Family Monitor Project.

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