Up until the latter decades of the 20th century patients had few choices of where to receive treatment for their mental illness. De-institutionalisation and the move towards community care has changed this, but at the same time shut down the large mental hospitals. What is your view on these developments?
my late uncle was a patient from the late 1930’s up until he was looked after in the community when Exvale hospital was closed-as such he had been institutionalized since the age of 17. He now had ‘freedom’ in his later years -when he was found dead on the railway line near the hospital he had known all his life-was he trying to find his way back to the regimented care and security he had called home all his life? and did it improve his life? not an answer that can easily be found
As a Mental Health nursing student in the late 80’s, I remember reading an article by Paul Massey ? in the Journal of advanced Nursing about ‘instituitional loss’ This was looking at the bereavement reaction experienced by staff as they started to close the Institutions down. He described ‘avoidance phemonema’ and depression as a result.
I suppose if they were seeing bereavement reactions in staff imagine what the poor patients experienced.
I often reflect on my days as a student working in an institution before it closed and the ‘anger’ and resentment shown by staff was rife.
I had an aunt Sister of my Father, who was admitted to Devon asylum in about mid 30s, I believe she was suffering from depression due to a abusive husband, she had 5 children it has always fascinated me where the children would of gone, and even if any of them could still be alive. I just don’t know where to start I believe she never came out and died in there.