- Tom Burns
‘Asylums and the origins of psychiatry’ surveys the care of the mentally ill. The mentally deranged were formerly cared for in the family or in private madhouses for the rich and workhouses for the poor. The asylum movement began in the 1820s, aiming to provide a calm, spacious, rural environment, kindness and routine (‘moral therapy’). However, conditions deteriorated with overcrowding. The nineteenth century saw greater research into mental health, outstanding figures being Kraepelin, Bleuler and Freud. Interest in psychiatry increased during World War I with the need to treat shell-shocked soldiers. Meanwhile, asylums had become even more overcrowded and neglected. Not until the 1920s did really effective treatments became available.