Mental Illnesses In The 19th Century

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Historical From the early biblical times there have been leaders who have helped guide their followers through their teachings. These were the first counselors. According to the book, “The World of the Counselor”, One of the first written treaties of a psychological nature can be traced back to 3000 BCE. (Neukrug, 2012, 2007)
In the early centuries the mentally ill were believed to be possessed by demons or in need of religion. These negative attitudes lead to people with mental illness having a stigma placed on them. In the mid-19th century, William Sweetser was the first to coin the term “mental hygiene”, which can be seen as a precursor to contemporary approaches to work on promoting positive mental health. (Wikipedia,
In the early part of America’s history, people who had mental illnesses were placed in institutions that were quite similar to jails. Once inside these facilities, people simply weren’t given the opportunity to leave, no matter how much they might want to do so. In addition, some of these facilities had terrible procedural rules that allowed people with illnesses to be treated in ways that were unspeakably cruel. (“History of Mental Health”, 2017) People with mental illness were seen to be a burden to their family. Some early counselors did not see their patients as humans, but more animals who needed to be trained. Forms of treatment were cruel and abusive. People working in institutions were not formally trained.
After years of mistreatment

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