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  1. #1
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    What happened to insane asylums?

    I was wondering when did asylums for lunatics stopped being used? Did I miss this? Do we no longer have insane asylums? The reason I ask is because I work with a guy I think should be committed, and I wanted to know the proper procedure.
    Old man, look at my life. I'm a lot like you were.

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by dacrunkest
    I was wondering when did asylums for lunatics stopped being used? Did I miss this? Do we no longer have insane asylums? The reason I ask is because I work with a guy I think should be committed, and I wanted to know the proper procedure.
    Now we have mental health institutions. While I think that's better for a lot of people, I still think it'd be a good idea to have an Arkham Asylum or two around to put the real whackos.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dacrunkest
    I was wondering when did asylums for lunatics stopped being used? Did I miss this? Do we no longer have insane asylums? The reason I ask is because I work with a guy I think should be committed, and I wanted to know the proper procedure.
    We still have them; every state still runs modern equivalents of those. We just don't think of them as the dark, dank warehouses of torture that previous generations thought they were (and some were). The Menninger family of Topeka did a lot of work in that regard in the early-to-mid 20th century.

    Here in Missouri, the big state hospital in Fulton is still going strong after 150 or so years. So is Malcolm Bliss in St. Louis; Matt Blunt was trying close that one down. So they're still around, if less metaphorically.

    Or am I completely off base here?

    Paul
    I've always been different, with one foot over the line
    Winding up somewhere one step ahead or behind
    It ain't been so easy, but I guess I shouldn't complain
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane
    Nobody knows if it's something to bless or to blame
    So far, I ain't found a rhyme or a reason to change
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've Always Been Crazy, Waylon Jennings (1978)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by PenforPrez
    We still have them; every state still runs modern equivalents of those. We just don't think of them as the dark, dank warehouses of torture that previous generations thought they were (and some were). The Menninger family of Topeka did a lot of work in that regard in the early-to-mid 20th century.

    Here in Missouri, the big state hospital in Fulton is still going strong after 150 or so years. So is Malcolm Bliss in St. Louis; Matt Blunt was trying close that one down. So they're still around, if less metaphorically.

    Or am I completely off base here?

    Paul
    No. Jess and I were having a debate as to where they put the criminally insane who haven't committed any crimes. These are people that are batshit crazy enough to be dangerous, but have not yet had the chance. I was under the impression that bona-fide institutions were still around for these folk. I have seen institutions like these in movies such as Silence of the Lambs and others I don't care to name.
    Old man, look at my life. I'm a lot like you were.

    http://www.myspace.com/playconcertkey

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dacrunkest
    No. Jess and I were having a debate as to where they put the criminally insane who haven't committed any crimes. These are people that are batshit crazy enough to be dangerous, but have not yet had the chance. I was under the impression that bona-fide institutions were still around for these folk. I have seen institutions like these in movies such as Silence of the Lambs and others I don't care to name.
    No. Nowadays, those people get elected to high office.
    I've always been different, with one foot over the line
    Winding up somewhere one step ahead or behind
    It ain't been so easy, but I guess I shouldn't complain
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane
    Nobody knows if it's something to bless or to blame
    So far, I ain't found a rhyme or a reason to change
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've Always Been Crazy, Waylon Jennings (1978)

  6. #6
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    Honestly, there are not a lot of these places left (state hospitals). It's really, really hard to get people a bed in the ones that do still exist. Everything these days has turned to "deinstitutionalization" which obviously leads to lots of problems.

    There are band-aid solutions at best (ie. ACT teams where teams of social workers and psychiatrists are expected to go to find the client in the community as much as needed for treatment, doesn't really work IMHO which is a major reason I left this job), and limited housing resources for the severe mentally ill and people coming out of jail. It's probably only going to get worse before it gets better. Lack of housing in general is the major hot issue in social work, regardless of what population you work with. Try finding a person in a wheelchair an accessible apartment, under $1600.00 a month in the NYC/Long Island/Westchester area...........pretty much non-existent, or very long wait-lists. Many apartment buildings don't have ramps either.
    Last edited by winneythepooh7; 01-24-2008 at 06:27 AM.

  7. #7
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    slightly off topic...

    movies such as Silence of the Lambs and others I don't care to name.
    Parts of that movie was actually filmed in the Pittsburgh jail, which was (at one point) the state penitentiary building. It's pretty effing creepy even empty as it is now.

    He was even held there for a time, if memory serves correctly.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by dacrunkest
    I was wondering when did asylums for lunatics stopped being used? Did I miss this? Do we no longer have insane asylums? The reason I ask is because I work with a guy I think should be committed, and I wanted to know the proper procedure.
    Yeah it's called celebrity rehab now

    I kid, I kid...I really have no idea but oddly enough was discussing this with someone the other day...
    "Well, honey, doctors are sadists who like to play God and watch lesser people scream." -Brenda in JUNO

    "He's the cheese to my macaroni."-JUNO

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deavan
    Yeah it's called celebrity rehab now

    I kid, I kid...I really have no idea but oddly enough was discussing this with someone the other day...
    Is it wrong that I find entertainment in Jeff Conaway's misery? I feel bad for pretty much everyone else on that show, but somehow I can't feel sorry for him.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by winneythepooh7
    Honestly, there are not a lot of these places left (state hospitals). It's really, really hard to get people a bed in the ones that do still exist. Everything these days has turned to "deinstitutionalization" which obviously leads to lots of problems.
    I thought most states still ran public mental institutions. I know Missouri and Kansas do.
    I've always been different, with one foot over the line
    Winding up somewhere one step ahead or behind
    It ain't been so easy, but I guess I shouldn't complain
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane
    Nobody knows if it's something to bless or to blame
    So far, I ain't found a rhyme or a reason to change
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've Always Been Crazy, Waylon Jennings (1978)

  11. #11
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    Here's how it worked in Illinois, when, over time and with various jurisdiction changes and legislation, "insane asylums" gradually evolved into "state hospitals" and "treatment centers":

    "The words "asylum", "feeble minded", "incurable" and "insane" seem to have been replaced in the state institutional system of Illinois around 1909 when the board of commissioners and the Board of State Commissioners of Public Charities were abolished. At that time, control of all state charitable institutions passed to the newly created Board of Administration and the new name for these institutions became "state hospital".

    The Civil Administrative Code of 1917 transferred jurisdiction of the institutions to the Department of Public Welfare. In 1961, when the Department of Public Welfare was abolished, the Department of Mental Health assumed responsibility for the hospitals and they were thus renamed again.

    In 1997 the Department of Mental Health was abolished and the newly formed Department of Human Services assumed responsibility for 10 psychiatric hospitals previously under the Department of Mental Health.

    The Department of Human Services is divided into "divisions" which are divided into "offices". Mental health services are covered by the Division of Mental Health and Developmental Disability Services. Mental Health falls under the Office of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities falls under the Office of Developmental Disabilities. Thus some "state hospitals" became "mental health centers" some "developmental centers" and some are both.

    This constant change of names caused by politics and changing ideas about the mentally ill seems to have caused much confusion when attempting to track each hospital's history."
    That information came from a site that details the history of some of Illinois' mental health facilities...it has old photos


    Some of these, in their asylum days, were very haunted-house-esque and creepy. Some, I know from living near them, like Dixon and Bartonville, had a lot of scary stories and such attached.

    The changes (and in some cases, lack of changes) in views on mental health and how various illnesses have been perceived and treated over the centuries, and just how it's all played out even in just American history alone is really an interesting thing to study.
    Last edited by wordsmith; 01-24-2008 at 10:56 AM.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PenforPrez
    I thought most states still ran public mental institutions. I know Missouri and Kansas do.
    They do. But that doesn't mean it's easy to get someone placed in them.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by winneythepooh7
    They do. But that doesn't mean it's easy to get someone placed in them.
    Especially in states like Missouri where mental health budgets have been seriously cut.
    I've always been different, with one foot over the line
    Winding up somewhere one step ahead or behind
    It ain't been so easy, but I guess I shouldn't complain
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane
    Nobody knows if it's something to bless or to blame
    So far, I ain't found a rhyme or a reason to change
    I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane

    I've Always Been Crazy, Waylon Jennings (1978)

  14. #14
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    It's not just availability of space that makes it complicated to get people committed, it's also that there's overall much more attention given to patients' rights and patient privacy than there once was. It all ties in with the shift in ways that mental health is viewed.
    "Even when I've f*&%ed up, I've spun it into a learning experience that's brought me to bigger and better things."

  15. #15
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    And in general, the view today is that no one belongs in a hospital/institutionalized setting for the long-term.

    But in many cases, money is not really poured into preventative services in the community, either. And when people live in the community, they still have the right to fail and make bad decisions.

    Bottom line, there's a lot of gaps in both systems and as a social worker who has been doing this kind of work for ten years, I don't know what the answer is, besides give more $$$$$ to help people and create better preventative services, smaller caseloads, housing, etc. but that's not going to happen anytime soon.

    Also you can't force people to take meds, and in many cases, people who belong in "insane asylums" CANNOT be treated with meds really. Often they have serious personality disorders/behavioral issues, which again, are not really treated by psychotropics.

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