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History-The Reform Movement for the Mentally Ill and Disabled

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Lydia Thompson

on 28 February 2013

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Transcript of History-The Reform Movement for the Mentally Ill and Disabled

By Lydia Thompson, Logan Xavier, and Anise Aiello The Reform Movement for the Mentally Ill and Disabled The Movement's Major Goals, Obstacles They Overcame, and How the Movement Started Sources Dorothea Dix Elizabeth Packard What is happening Currently that is Relevant to your Movement? Jacobs, William Jay. "Dorothea Dix." Human Rights. New York, NY: Scribner, 1990. N. pag. Print.
"Topic Page:." Dix, Dorothea (1802-1887) - Credo Reference Topic. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. <http://www.credoreference.com/topic/dix_dorothea_1802_1887>.
"Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)." Austin Lakes Hospital. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Feb. 2013. <http://austinlakeshospital.com/services/outpatient-program/intensive-outpatient-program/>.
"Making Their Voices Heard: Women and Mental Health Reform in the Nineteenth Century." US History Scene. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. <http://www.ushistoryscene.com/uncategorized/mentalheathreform/>. The major goal of this movement was to change the awful treatment and conditions that mental patients and disabled people had to suffer through. The reform movement for the mentally ill and disabled began when Dorothea Dix taught a Sunday school class to a group of female inmates at the East Cambridge Jail, and saw the awful treatment that prisoners, mental patients, and disabled people received along with the horrible conditions that they had to face. One of the big obstacles that Dorothea Dix had to overcome in order to reform mental patient rights was the lack of modern technology and transportation. It was difficult for the news of the work that Miss Dix was doing to spread across the country due to the lack of things such as TV and radio. Also, Dorothea Dix traveled across the country, but because airplanes were not invented yet, her journeys took much longer because she could only travel by train, stage coach, and other forms of transportation at the time. Another obstacle that was faced during this movement was the way that society viewed both the mentally insane/disabled and women. Because she was a woman, many people were surprised how famous Dorothea Dix became and much her work impacted the future. Society’s view on the mentally insane and disabled people was also very low. Many people in the United States did not think that people with mental illnesses and disabilities should be treated equally. Some people even believed that beating and torturing mental patients and disabled people was the only way to rid their bodies of the devil. By the end of the American Civil War, Dorothea Dix had been a part of the creation of 54 new mental institutions with 6 more in the process.
Not only did Dorothea Dix reform the rights of people with mental illnesses, her suggestions on military medical care during the American Civil War reformed army nursing care, but was not put into effect until World War II in 1941.
Before Dorothea Dix was a humanitarian, she was a teacher, and published both a elementary school science textbook, and an anthology of poems. Was the Movement a Success? The Mentally Ill Treatment Reform Movement in the 1800’s was a success because of the strong fight for fare treatment by Dorothea Dix and other activists such as Elizabeth Packard. Before the movement, the mentally ill were treated with little respect or courtesy. The mentally ill were beaten and were treated unfairly because of the public’s view that you could, “beat the insane and mental right out of someone.” After intense protesting by activist such as Dorothea Dix and Elizabeth Packard, the treatment of the mentally ill was reformed by laws. Today, the mentally impaired are treated with respect and assistance unlike in the 1800’s. One of the biggest topics on mental illness today is the debate on gun control and where mental illness comes into the events that have happened recently. Elizabeth Packard was a common domestic house wife who main role was raising her children. Elizabeth was married to a minister by the name of Theophilus Packard. Although Elizabeth was a religious woman, she found herself at odds with his teachings. Because of her defiance, her husband committed her to the state Jacksonville, Illinois Asylum. Elizabeth saw the harsh and gruesome treatment of the mentally ill in the facility. After being in an institution for 3 years because of her husband’s actions, she protested for the rights of the mentally ill. She used her experience to expose the poor treatment of the mentally ill and criticized the authority that men were given over women. Elizabeth traveled around the country bringing the injustice to the public’s attention and protested for the fare treatment of the mentally ill. Surprising Facts about this Movement Dorothea Lynde Dix (April 4, 1802-July 18, 1887), in her early career she was a teacher and author of children's books. She also had a unique and international role as an advocate for improvements in the treatment of patients suffering from mental and emotional disorders, the most visible humanitarian reformer of the 19th century. During the Civil War she served as Superintendent of United States Army Nurses.
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