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Dorothea Dix: The Legacy Of Mental Illness

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Legacy of Dorothea Dix
During the ancient history, mentally ill people were perceived as cursed or punishment by God. Due to this reason families were ashamed and hid their family members with mental disabilities. In some cases, they were kept in the same facilities with prisoners, chained in dark enclosed spaces, lying in their own filth, without adequate clothing, and abused physically (truthaboutnursing.org, 2016). People have viewed mentally ill people as incurable and helpless predominantly just as a burden on society. Due to the fact that people did not have any knowledge about mental illness, they didn’t know how to care and treat them as humans. However, Dorothea Dix, a forerunner of her time, advocated for the mentally ill both in the US and Europe. She fought to change the way mental ill people were viewed and perceived and most importantly, the way they were treated.
Although Dorothea Dix didn’t have a formal education in nursing, she saw the need to advocate and protect the rights of mentally insane individuals and those who could not fight for themselves. She became one of the most influential pioneers of modern nursing. Dix withstood against all odds and campaigned, for the rights of the mentally ill. People treated the mentally ill as criminals and sent them to live
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As a result of her efforts in persuading the U.S. government over thirty mental hospitals were established across the state. Her work changed how society perceived, cared and treated the mentally ill today. Because of her advocacy today, people with intellectual and development disabilities are accepted in public school, and living in communities without any shame. Some of them are able to lead independent lives in the community without paid supports. Others live in group homes with minimal supervision, and a small percentage might have serious, lifelong
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