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1. Dr. Summers tells us “one of the earliest iterations of mental hygiene was the practice of “boarding out.” (200) What do you think of this practice? Did it help the patient acclimate to their community?

2. The book emphasizes that “racist assumptions figured into the diagnostic and therapeutic assessments” of African American mental patients. (213) What kind of “racist assumptions about the black psyche” is Dr. Summers referring to? (216)

3. Chapter 9 tells us following WWII younger psychiatrists “sought to infuse the profession with a more socially responsible vision “based on their observations and interactions with military patients.”(249) Is social psychiatry a by-product of wartime trauma? If so, why do you think the “shell shocked” generation of traumatized WWI veterans were largely ignored by the psychiatric community.

Submitted by Bonnie Akkerman I pledge…

1. Chapter 7 of madness in the city puts reform into the context of politics at the time, especially that of the progressive movement. As such I must ask due to varying nature of the progressive movement. Was there any extreme backlash within the congressional halls to this change in mental care beyond the government’s refusal to use funds for a new hospital?

2. Why do you think the proposal for the black only mental asylum within the District. As an attempt to reinforce segregation in mental care never came to fruition within the District? Was it lack of funds or congressional approval?

-Parker Siebenschuh I pledge

1. According to Chapter 7 in the Summers reading, the laws surrounding mental health (or mental hygiene) appear to have stagnated circa 1904, resulting in mental patients being treated no better than common criminals (192-194). Why do you think this was so? I'd like to discuss the historical context and what movements and events (e.g. the World Wars, Great Depression, etc.) that may have impacted the capital's decisions to improve lunacy laws.

2. According to page 240 in the Summers reading, a female attendant comments on how a black attendant would “run right over” a white attendant if they were there slightly longer. My question is this: was this not the case the other way around? If an attendant had more experience (regardless of race) would they not try to do the same thing? Is this not the case in an everyday average job? Or is what makes different simply because this is just discrimination fueled by stereotypes and racism?

Submitted by Lyndsey Clark. I pledge…

1. If there was such support for Bill 5486, why did the House decide to kill the bill on the floor?

2. In chapter 8, on page 222, the reading describes the murder of a black patient by two white attendants who were joined by two others. After a trial, the grand jury decided to indict the first two attendants. Was anyone else surprised that two white attendants were indicted for murdering a black man given the time period? Why do you think the jury decided on indictment?

Submitted by Audrey Schroeder. I pledge…

1. Why do you think that the District of Columbia did not want individuals submitting themselves to an institution of their own free will? What do you think some of their concerns were other than the ones mentioned?

2. Why do you think that committing by jury was so frowned upon? Why do you think that a judge or friends/relatives was more popular? What kind of complications might come from both?

Submitted by Jack Kurz

1.) On page 194, Summers talks about the importance of an honest, open relationship between the patient, the psychiatrist, and the patient's family. Why do you think the development of an honest relationship between the trio is crucial? Also, why do you think it was important for the family to form a relationship with the psychiatrist?

2.) How did race influence the concept of mental hygeine? What exactly was “mental hygeine”

Submitted by Erica Banks. I pledge…

Question 1: Why were cases of Mental Illness forced to go through a criminal trial in the early 1900s in D.C? was it specific cases or was it a universal rule for all Mental Health incidents?

Question 2: One thing that we haven’t discussed in class that would be interesting to see is what ends up happening to the various 20th century mental institutions such as Saint Elizabeth? Were they fully shut down and converted into other facilities? Or do they still exist but function differently?

Submitted by Griffin Nameroff

1. Chapter 7 mentions that patients were sometimes “paroled” to lessen the strain on hospitals. Were patients that were “paroled” often considered successful (patients staying out of the hospital) or not? In the case of Ada (pg. 200-201), she was in and out of the hospital because she did not seem to take well to employment while on parole.

2. In chapter 8, Summers mentions that there were identified racial tensions between African American attendants and white patients as well as between the black and white attendants themselves. Were these relationships different depending on the location of the hospital?

I pledge… (Submitted by Carson Berrier)

1) On page 224, it is mentioned that due to the overcrowding of St. Elizabeth’s and the attempts to recruit and retain more employees, the federal government stopped sending veterans to St. Elizabeth’s to help the overcrowding. One thing I’ve always wondered about overcrowding is where to the patients go that do not get access to the overcrowded institution? Would they go to another federally funded institution or just wait until there was availability?

2) Related to the above question, would a white veteran have taken precedent over a black veteran to gain access to St. Elizabeth’s? If there was intense overcrowding and it did become a waitlist situation, would it be first come first serve or would the racial injustice spread to admittance as well? I pledge… submitted by Mallory Karnei

1. This isn't exactly a question––more of a discussion point––, but I was curious what everyone thought about the fact that up until the 1930s, people were institutionalized through public opinion. As Summers mentions, random juries often decided if someone was insane, and a prolonged battle occurred even partially to repeal this.

2. Would you say the 1930's mental hygiene initiative in DC (through facilities like St. Elizabeth's) was a well-intentioned idea with some inherent racial flaws or intentionally segregationist from its inception? Would you say it overall helped the local black community by fostering a relationship between those needing help and social workers? Or did the whole system perpetuate the idea that black Americans were more mentally unwell?

Submitted by Theron Gertz. I pledge…

471g4/questions/471g4--week_8_day_2.txt · Last modified: 2021/10/14 13:34 by