Dorothea Dix Mental Illness

818 Words4 Pages
In the 1800s, people with mental disorders were simply deemed as “crazy”. They were usually believed to be possessed by evil spirits, or even the devil himself. Practices such as exorcism were not uncommon among this group of people, along with lobotomies, skull drilling, and even cruel isolation. “Many of the drastic procedures that have been put in place to relieve a person of mental illness are only successful in creating ‘vegetables’ out of patients, not curing their illness but making them ghosts of their previous selves.” (Stanley, 2016) Dorothea Dix changed how society viewed mentally disabled individuals. She was a “humanitarian, reformer, educator and crusader.” (Reddi, n.d.) Dorothea Dix was a woman who loved to stand up for what she believed, and made a difference in the world. She protected those who needed protection, loved those who needed love, and understood the misunderstood. Without the dedication she gave, the treatment of mental sickness and female criminals would be far from what it is today. She decided to stand up for the minorities that she connected with and changed how society viewed them. She was able to see first hand what mental illness was like, and struggled with it herself. Dorothea Dix was born in 1802 to a family that did not show her the love every child deserves. Because of this, her grandmother in Boston adopted her when she was twelve years old. Her love for children inspired her to have a preschool within her grandmother’s home by the
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