Mental Healthcare in America

2493 Words Feb 6th, 2010 10 Pages
Mental Health Care and the American Social System

American history is littered with tails of reform and revolution. Earlier on in America’s young life, revolution included war, struggle for basic human rights and dignity as well as radical tactics taken by the public. As time went on Americans learned that revolution and reform could occur through the government systems that our forefathers had put in place. The battle for human rights has all but ended but the way in which Americans wage war is a different story altogether. Now American’s fight for better public healthcare, equal rights for homosexual individuals and couples, and stricter standards for social welfare programs.

One of the societal problems that has overcome
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With her endless efforts, Dorothea Dix succeeded in helping create a congressional bill regarding the government’s role in mental health care. Unfortunately after the bill had been passed by both houses, President Franklin Pierce vetoed the proposal. Even though Ms. Dix did not see the bill she created become law, she did manage to create 32 hospitals for the mentally ill and approximately 15 schools for the mentally handicapped and blind (Marshall, 1937). Dorothea also helped establish several training facilities for nurses and established libraries in numerous prisons across the nation. Though Dorothea Dix was considered to be ahead of her time, the efforts she made and her accomplishments were key in establishing a better mental health care system in America.

Another great advocate for the mentally ill in America was a man named Clifford Beers. This Yale graduate and business man was subjected, firsthand, to the torturous treatment utilized by metal health care facilities in America when he suffered a psychological breakdown in 1900. After years of degradation, Mr. Beers made it his mission to expose the atrocities being committed through the publication of an autobiography called “A Mind That Found Itself.” (Shern, 2009) Beers went on to found the Connecticut Society for Mental Hygiene to
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