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Why is this class so early in the morning? – Jeff M.

1)Questions from The Mad Among Us: A point made in the preface of The Mad Among Us on pg ix where the author discusses what constitutes that of being mentally ill interested me in the sense that it seems to end with either the ability or inability to support oneself. He is describing it as something that is affecting mental health to the degree that the affected person is unable to or has difficulty functioning while doing expected daily tasks due to a mental health disorder and therefore becomes economically dependent on others or the state (Grob, The Mad Among Us ix, 3). This leads me to the question: Has the recovery process been based more on the needs of the individual experiencing mental health disorders or on the needs of the people around the individual such as caretakers, family, government and state institutions? Mental health disorders can be a difficult thing to understand when considering parts of the spectrum where the disorders are less obvious. This may leave some people having difficulty functioning in life for no obvious reason. Have hidden mental health issues been considered in the history of mental health as reasons for being unable to meet cultural standards for work, success, and family life? — Ruth Curran

2)Questions from Age of Anxiety: Considering the discovery and spread of tranquilizers as described here, Were the anxiety medications so needed and this break-through allowed people relief of their anxiety symptoms? Do you think over-all health improved in the community due to treating anxiety with medication? (Tomes, Age of Anxiety, 14) — Ruth Curran

1. (PDF Pg. 4 of Sandowsky Preface) Sandowsky questions whether what was known as “melancholia” in the 19th and 20th centuries is the same as “modern depression”. I would also like to build off Sandowsky's question and ask those who believe the two to be different why and how they feel the two terms should be differentiated. For those who see the two terms as congruent, please also explain your motives. - Joey Welch

2. I found Bertolote's explanation of how the WHO defined mental hygiene and mental health in 1950 to be very thought-provoking especially seeing how the two concepts coexist. Mental Hygiene was spread as a movement aimed towards taking better care of the mentally ill. Mental hygiene was seen as the steps one should take to improve their overall mental health. I would argue that the foundations for mental hygiene were flawed due to the overwhelming lack of understanding of mental health at the time. The mental Hygiene movement seems to me to have been a more misled version of our current attempts to navigate the mental health crisis in the 21st century. - Joey Welch

1) Something that was interesting that Nancy Tomes mentioned briefly was that during Kikbride’s time, the only people who had true autonomy were “free white men of sound mind.” When the first mental hospitals were created slavery was still practiced and women did not yet have the right to vote. These people already lacked autonomy and lost more of it when admitted to mental hospitals, while white men were introduced to the world of being a second class citizen upon admittance. She also mentions how the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane took only white patients. This brings to question, how were POCs treated for mental health issues as compared to how white men were treated? - Teresa Felipe

2) It was stated in the article from the National Library of Medicine that “mental health as understood in Western countries [is not] necessarily at variance with the sense in which it is understood in other countries.” This is similar to something Jonathan Sadowsky mentioned in The Empire of Depression how this “empire” originated in western countries and then it began to spread globally. This makes me wonder how exactly mental health became a western idea and priority in the early nineteen hundreds? What about western culture caused this interest and concern in mental health as opposed to the lack of concern in other parts of the world? - Teresa Felipe

1. Each of the articles discussing the history of mental health chose a point in time to begin their discussion. For example, Bertolote's history began with the mental hygiene movement in the early twentieth century while the Wikipedia page for the lunatic asylum began in the medieval era, considerably earlier than any of the others. Why do these articles differ so much in the period of time that they consider to be part of the history of mental health? Sadowsky addressed in “Empire of Depression” the struggle of identifying a new concept in the past; might this be part of the reason there is not one accepted beginning of the history of mental health? - Morgan Kelley

2. The “talk” section of lunatic asylum Wikipedia page shows multiyear debate over whether or not the page should be combined with the page discussing modern psychiatric hospitals, making it clear that many feel strongly that there should be a distinction between those two institutions. Why might this be? How might the criticism of contemporary mental health structures found in the other articles impact this debate? - Morgan Kelley

1. Grob’s prologue mentions that from 1875-1955, 205 mental hospitals were built with a population of over a half a million people spread throughout them. Therefore, many institutions served as microcosms of the areas they served. Within these environments, how much variance was there in the treatment ideas pushed by Dix, Kirkbride and others? -RJD

2. Kirkbride and his colleagues used four categories of mental disease. Mania, which was excitement and delusions. Melancholia, marked by lethargy and depression. Dementia, or mental stupor and brain damage. Finally, monomania which was marked by partial insanity and delusional thinking. This narrow treatment is particularly interesting, as it forced multiple conditions to be lumped into four distinct categories, rather than separate fields. -RJD

1. Similar to others questions, in Tomes introduction he goes into quite a bit of detail on Kirkbride and the different sorts of practices that he employed to his patients. It is brought up quite a bit that these medical professionals attempted to portray the mental illness as curable, yet it was a widely held thought that mental illness was incurable during this time. How did this paradox occur and why were the doctors at the mental institutions push so hard to portray mental illness as curable?-Margie Jones

2. In Shorter's preface, he begins to touch on the 1960s as somewhat of a turning point in how the general public viewed mental illness. The impact of this thinking in some of the books and cultural trends (One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest as one example) is interesting to see. What lead to this change of thinking? Was it the book that lead to the conversation about mental health or the broader cultural movement that lead to the books?-Margie Jones

1. It is mentioned in multiple readings that mental health was orignially founded and understood as a western idea. Similar to Teresa, I became interested in how this was able to pique global interest. Further, when thinking about western places that have a diverse population, such as the U.S., I began to question how this idea was perceived among subgroups within western environments. Notably because this came about during a time when minority groups in the U.S. were not allowed to be a part of such advancements. Was the perception of mental health the same across all groups, or did it vary based on cultural connection?- Neonya

2. I found the early terminology for mental health, being mental hygiene, to be extremely interesting. When I think of hygiene, I think of cleanliness. At the time when the Mental Hygiene movement was getting started, most saw mental illnesses as something that needed to be gotten rid of or “cleansed.” As time advanced and people became more educated, the terminology shifted to mental health, and practices focused on actually bettering patients rather than cleansing them.- Neonya

1. I found it thought provoking that Bertolote noted that although there are definitions of mental health and hygeine, the actual discipline of the former is still not widely agreed upon to have a clear definition. Will there ever be a time when we know enough about mental healthcare that there will be a widely held standard meaning, or is the concept changing so often that there cannot be a concrete definition? - Evan

2. Examining the Wikipedia page, I was confused and quite frankly freaked out that people used to just throw whoever they deemed to be crazy into these asylums. I know that that thought stems from my current viewpoint, and I am curious to learn more about how and why the publics' perception of these institutions in the U.S. changed from the 19th and 20th centuries over the course of this semester. - Evan

1. In the article “Roots of the Concept of Mental Health,” why is mental hygiene and mental health seem to be separated and treated like one is a fresh new ideology when clearly Mental Health has been around for ages and they almost if not seem like the same thing? -Jacob Martin

2. I think that it’s very interesting when Nancy Tomes states in The Art of Asylum Keeping, how some of the main goals were “balancing family, community, and patient interests; and maintaining high-quality medical care for the chronically ill.” In several of the other readings and articles we get a different sense of Asylums or the early understandings of Mental health before present times. I would like to see why this is. -Jacob Martin

1. It's interesting how early attempts at mental healthcare were framed by some professionals to patients, family, and the general public as curable, as physical ailments are. The idea of “medicalizing” mental health, as Tomes writes, served as an important way to normalize mental care, and to avoid demonizing those afflicted. It makes me wonder then, how does medicalizing different things serve to normalize them, and equally, how can the same notion be used to discredit and diminish ideas and conditions? Does medicalizing help people understand the underlying aspects of conditions, or is it a matter of allowing people to write things off as beyond their ken? – Ricky

2. How deeply connected is the history of mental illness with the idea of simple solutions? Grob shows us how asylums represent in part ease in the ability to sequester “difficult” people away from the public eye; Tone describes the proliferation of tranquilizers as seeming an easy “solution” to anxiety; again, Tomes’ description presenting mental illness in the same manner as physical illness. Why does it seem that mental healthcare, even today, is so strongly guided by shortcuts and half-measures? –Ricky

1. The “mental hygiene” movement started in the 1800s. Most intriguing about the term is that during The International Congress of Mental Health, they rarely used the term mental hygiene using mental health instead. This slight change in words appeared to have people take the topic more seriously. Why did the switching of hygiene to health have a large impact and did it change society's view of mental health issues? Darian James

2. Discussed in many of the readings is the treatment of people with mental health problems. Historically these people were sent off to be “housed” away. One of the wiki articles discusses the “lunatic asylum” into the psychiatric hospitals that we know now. While there is a distinct difference between the two, it raises the question of how different the two are? While current day hospitals are organized and official many of the same problems persist throughout American history. Problems such as low staff, abuse, and isolation still run rampant. While government involvement has helped, is there a way to further ensure the safety of patients? Darian James

2023-471g4--week_1_day_2.txt · Last modified: 2023/08/31 13:11 by jmcclurken