Ethics, Asylums, and Historical Lessons about Mental Health

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Note: This blog post is not about my awesome mentor for my Emerging Scholars project, but it is inspired by his recent article “Improving Long-Term Psychiatric Care: Bring Back the Asylum.”

In it, Dr. Sisti argues that deinstitutionalization led to a shortage of long-term care options for the severely mentally ill, causing many to end up in inappropriate “institutions” like prisons. Whatever your opinion on the issue, it’s important to remember the history of mental healthcare so we don’t make the same ethical mistakes in the future. This is the story of one of the architects of institutionalization.

To prepare for my Emerging Scholars project, I found myself reading—and reading, and reading, and reading. Mental health and ethics draw on ideas from so many different fields, including philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, social theory, even history. It’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in information, trying to figure out what’s important.

bq in bath

No hedgehogs were harmed in the making of this blog post. That would be ironically unethical.

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