Brattleboro Insane Case Study

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I have always been a fan of Brattleboro, Vermont, since it is the first town you cross once you drive into Vermont on Route 91. I knew such a quant town would have some history so I dove right into researching Brattleboro online. What I found was far from quant. An insane asylum was erected in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1843 called Brattleboro Retreat, “a 1000 acre comprehensive mental health center… consists of 58 building and sites, 38 which are contributing historic structures that date from 1838 to 1938” (Rootsweb). The asylum was originally named the Vermont Asylum for the Insane. The asylum admitted any individuals who displayed legal insanity; “ legal insanity was defined as anything other than normal. Treatment included work around the asylum, attending chapel, exercising in the gymnasium and playing games in the amusement hall like croquet, billiards, and bowling”(Insanity). Doctors believed physical labor could cure mental illness and used patients from the facility to construct each building, including the Brattleboro Retreat Tower to deal with the influx of patients in the 1900’s. Treatment at the asylum seemed stagnant, as, “about 65% of patients discharged would later return, proving that while treatments were getting deeper into the heart of mental illness, many advancements were needed” (Insanity). Another large issue with treatment was it lacked conclusive results and as a consequence, “ efforts were made to prevent mental illness from becoming chronic, despite only four patients being released from 1878-1910” (Insanity). …show more content…

After the patients completed building it, one of the highest towers at the facility, it was only open between 1887-1889. Due to the lack of useful treatment for the patients, “the tower was closed shortly after being built because too many patients jumped to their death”

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