Digital Resource Blog Post Week 11

Linked HERE is an Instagram Reel that shows someone repeatedly opening a door and shining a flashlight around a room. It is captioned “POV you’re trying to sleep but you’re at the mental hospital” and “every fifteen minutes and they won’t close the door!” This immediately reminded me of Nellie Bly’s account and the accounts of other women of their time being institutionalized and the critiques they made that the environment of the asylum was not conducive to healing.

Digital Project

Many, if not all of the remaining mental institutions in the United States have some aura of controversy surrounding them. Central State Hospital in Petersburg, Virginia isn’t unique in this aspect. Central State was the first mental institution in America opened specifically for African Americans. It’s safe to assume that many Americans cared little for such an institution historically, its records are spotty, incomplete and have been on the verge of destruction several times. What can be inferred, however, is that Central State is and was not a great place to be for the mentally unwell. Seclusion and restraint have been overused for decades with little recourse. In 2023, a black man, Irvo Otieno died at the hands of Central State staff as the result of excessive restraint, a painful reminder of the institution’s past. This fifteen minute documentary explores Central State Hospital’s painful past and alludes to how American mental institutions haven’t quite reformed enough. 

Works Cited (Text only):

Citations for images, videos are included at the end of the video.

Digital Project

For my digital project, I wanted to examine what happened to historic asylums following deinstitutionalization when mental health care overall became less focused on the environment of the psychiatric hospital and there was a reduced need for them. I have always found abandoned buildings interesting and watched a lot of videos of people exploring psychiatric hospitals specifically growing up, so I was additionally curious about the different types of reactions that people might have to historic asylums and if there were any identifiable trends in the types of reactions. In trying to answer these questions, I chose five examples of specific hospitals to use as case studies and created a digital essay where each of these are discussed individually and in comparison with one another. That is linked HERE.


I believe this picture perfectly exemplifies what we have discussed this week. This is because while there were mental disorders that African America males were struggling with, the doctors would just diagnose them with schizophrenia. They chose to ignore other mental disorders even when these patients would show the exact same symptoms as a white patients. They chose to ignore that evidence not specifically Ionia but the psychiatric field as a whole. Although this could be attributed to American society and its racist views. Regardless, misdiagnosing patients with schizophrenia. was extremely detrimental to the individuals,  as well as for the world of psychology. 

Week Ten Resource Blog Post

I was curious while reading The Protest Psychosis about what Ionia looked like, and when I tried to find out, I found this collection of images gathered as part of a project to collect oral histories of various psychiatric hospitals in Michigan. Most were of the buildings on campus, but there were also quite a few of what I think was on-sight farms (unfortunately not all of the images are captioned so it is hard to tell), tools used for therapy, and groups of whom I assumed to be staff. The patients themselves did not appear much in these images nor do any of the oral interviews I scrolled through on Ionia involve patients directly (a few were relatives telling patients stories), rather they were with former employees or members of the community who were in some way connected to the hospital.

Week 10 Post

YouTube video about how Schizophrenia became a “Black Disease”.

This video provides an excellent summary from Metzl himself about how schizophrenia became increasingly identified within minority populations (specifically African-American men). He talks about how this was a systematic process that seeped through all facets of society.