About Me

Hi everybody! My name is Audrey Schroeder and I am a major in History. I grew up all over the United States. My father was a Major in the Air Force, so I moved around quite a bit. I have been living in Virginia for the past eight years and I really see this state as my home.

I chose to take this class because mental health has been a part of my life ever since my sister was born. She is neurodivergent which makes her life a little more difficult, but she is truly the strongest person I know. I wouldn’t trade her for anything. Since she has such a big impact on my life I wanted to learn a little more about the history of mental health. I want to be able to by the end of this class to understand her more .

Mental Illness in Film

Scene from A Beautiful Mind (2000), a film that got me interested in psychiatry, which poignantly depicts schizophrenia from the perspective of the sufferer. The film, starring Russell Crowe as Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Nash, also highlights the brutal methods employed on schizophrenics in the 1950s and 60s.

History of Mental Health in the United States HIST471G4 Self Introduction

Hello, I’m Chris O’Neill, a senior at UMW. Previously, I have studied ancient European and Asian history here at UMW, which has helped me to gain a unique perspective on how historical events have shaped different regions of the globe. Before becoming a history major, however, I entertained the idea of becoming a psychiatrist due to my interest in how the mind/brain works particularly in the context of mental disorders. Alas, I was not cut out for science, so here I am studying history, which is interesting in its own right, nevertheless. I am looking forward to taking a class that combines both mental health and its history in this country. Additionally, I have had my own mental health struggles, which I’m sure many of us have, so that is another reason that I’m interested in this course.


Hi! My name is Allison and I am a history major at UMW. My educational journey has been nontraditional, but I’m excited to say that after several years of taking a class or two a semester, I’m almost done with my degree! I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve lived in Fredericksburg for most of my life which is probably where my love for history came from. My dad is a civil war enthusiast and took (dragged) our family to many museums and battlefields when we were growing up. I never minded because I loved to think about what happened in the past, but my siblings were less enthused. I still love to go to museums and historical landmarks for fun.

I decided to take this class because I needed a senior seminar class and the topic of mental health is interesting to me. As someone who has clinical depression, I would like to learn more about all of the different facets of mental health from a historical sense. I also think that normalizing the broad concept of mental health is important, so becoming more educated about the history of it will contribute to that. I look forward to analyzing different perspectives in our readings, and relating dated concepts to modern ideas from the present.

A relatable meme from one of my favorite TV shows, Bob’s Burgers.

Eastern State – Virginia as a leader in asylum care

Eastern State Hospital is a psychiatric hospital in WilliamsburgVirginia. It is the oldest psychiatric hospital in this country. Built in 1773, it was the first public facility in the United States constructed solely for the care and treatment of the mentally ill. The original building had burned but was reconstructed in 1985. Percival Goodhouse  was one of the first patients admitted to the Eastern State Hospital after its opening on October 12, 1773. This is link to the hospital’s official historical website which was created by students at the college of William and Mary :


About Me & This Class

Hi everyone! I’m Mallory Karnei, a senior at the University of Mary Washington where I’ve been studying History and Secondary Education. I am technically from Maryland considering I have lived there for nearly eight years now, but I was originally born and raised in Sterling, Virginia. I moved to Pasadena, Maryland before the start of my freshman year of high school and have now lived in Kent Island, Maryland for about three years.

I decided to take this specific class due to the relevancy of mental health in society and the importance of mental health awareness. I have always been very intrigued in psychology and have yet to have the opportunity to see its progression throughout history. This class ultimately seemed like a great blend between history and psychology. I also have taken an interest of mental health in schools, considering I want to be secondary teacher. I have always wanted to have a better understanding of mental health and how it was either advocated or shunned and how that could possibly reflect onto education and students today.

To me, mental health means the same as any other health. For example, physical health is the wellbeing and maintenance of one’s body. Similarly, mental health is the wellbeing and maintenance of the most important organ in one’s body. I have also come to step away from the taboo side of mental health that used to be extremely present in society – the ignorance, the assumptions, the labeling, etc. That is because mental health has come to personally impact me and my family, allowing me to be able to openly talk about mental health in the same way someone would talk about a broken leg.

I am hoping that this class will challenge and add perspective to the modern portrayal of mental health. Whereas it is far more accepted in today’s age, it was not in the past, and I’m curious to see why that was the case. Why were people so frightened of something they did not understand? Why were so many treated so poorly due to that fear? How can what we’ve seen in the past, help us be better about mental health in the future? I’m hoping this class will help to answer some of those questions.

Introduction for HIST 471G4

Hey everyone! This blog post serves as an introduction for myself for my professor and peers in HIST 471G4, History of Mental Health in the U.S. My name in Lyndsey and I’m a double major in Communications & Digital Studies and History. I took this class because I enjoyed several classes I had previously with Dr. McClurken, who is fantastic. However, I am also coming very close to completing the requirements for the History major, and had to fit in another 400-level class. What better way to do that than with a professor I’m already familiar with and think is wonderful? I’m very interested in how this course will go, mainly because we will be covering a range of highly controversial topics related to the history of mental health. Mental health is a fascinating topic, however I’m most interested in its portrayal in popular culture, as well as studying the innovations and effects following the World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. These are some of the areas I’m most interested in as a growing historian. I love exploring the impact of these wars from a social, political, and cultural standpoint. I am already aware of the differences in terminology throughout history. One of my favorite comedians, George Carlin, even discussed the issues related to these changes in language in a few of his routines and how people most likely could have found help had the rest of the world not avoided the serious topic at hand. I’m very interested to see the history behind this and to explore how things have changed over time, particular how people have become more aware and conscious of their and others mental health.