Dorothea Dix Mental Health

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Although mental illness has not always been a subject of social importance, it has always been an issue in America. In the early years of this country, mentally disabled people were considered morally unclean and were social outcasts. At this time in history there were not places for these people to go to any sort of treatment so they were cared for by their families. Since it was socially unacceptable to have a mental illness at the time, there were some cases where people lived in poorhouses or were sent to jail (Ozarin). The necessity to treat the mentally ill increased as America continued to grow and advance. The Quakers were known for being more socially adept and caring than other early American societies. They were the first people to integrate mental health into the welfare of …show more content…

Dix brought mental health awareness by visiting various asylums in both the United States and some in Europe, and then publicizing her observations. By the time she was 54 she had travelled through half of the United States; along the way, noting the men and women chained to the walls with inadequate clothing and sanitation in dark rooms (Casarez). Dorothea was an exceedingly influential individual in the nineteenth century. She spent her life observing the behaviors and treatments in a variety of jails, poorhouses, and hospitals. She then would publish the horrors she found to state legislators in order to gain funding to improve mental health facilities in the United States. These publications brought attention to her cause and eventually in 1851 a bill was proposed to set aside land and funds for mental hospitals in each state. The bill was passed in both Houses, but unfortunately was vetoed by the pro-state sovereignty president of the time, Franklin Pierce (Ozarin). All of these contributions helped to make Dorothea Dix the most prominent member of the mental health movement of the 19th

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