The There were the brutalities and degradation

past was filled with torture devices and judicial murders, the Middle Ages and
the Renaissance confused demonical possession with delusion frenzy, and haunted
down maundering old women who they accused of witchcraft. There were the brutalities
and degradation of the mad-houses of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
in which those in power used chains and whips as their instruments. But the
late 19th century brought light onto the treatment of people with mental health
difficulties by providing a humanitarian touch to put an end to the abuses. The
Inauguration of an “era of kindness and medical care prepared the way for a
rational, humane approach to the mastery of mental illness” allowing for the
pathology of insanity to be investigated. (Porter, 2002:5)

It is abundantly clear from the laws set in the 19th and 20th
century that mental health difficulty was not fully understood well by society.
The biggest difference between this century and the last was the prevailing
view that institutionalizing and locking up people with learning disabilities
and mental health difficulties in asylums was the best way for society to deal
with it. Popular views among the public were that these institutions were a
place to receive treatment and specialised care, but in reality it was a place
of segregation where inmates found themselves living the rest of their lives
apart from the rest of society. When asylums first appeared in the 18th
century people who were considered as deviating from the norm and unusual were
placed in asylums. Asylums were first introduced as
an institute specifically built for the purpose of housing people with
psychological disorders, but the main reason for their use was to exclude their
inmates from the rest of society rather than treating their disorders. The
conditions they were kept in were appalling often kept in windowless dungeons, brutalised,
beaten and chained to their beds, with little to no contact with caregivers. The
incarceration of mad people in asylums is seen as reflecting the dynamic of the
social structure of society at that time. There began an increased consensus of
the wider-scale containment of social deviancy: the poor in workhouses and
criminals in prisons. Urbanization, industrialisation, and professional forces govern
societal attitudes towards people with mental health difficulties. This
ultimately lead to the gradual movement of segregation of the poor, from abled
people who were fit to work in workhouses and those who could not, which
included those deemed insane and in need of incarceration into asylums. 

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