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Ten Days in a Madhouse

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Katelyn Loewen              

David Binkard

English 120


Ten Days in a Madhouse

In Nellie Bly’s time society had a very negative view on mental illness.  They believed that mental illness was untreatable and whoever had one was crazy.  Today our views are much more understanding.  People with mental illnesses are accepted as humans and are treated with much more respect.  

In Nellie Bly’s time people who were in insane asylums, they were treated as animals.  They were not given proper places to stay.  They were fed next to nothing and it had little to no nutrients.  They were considered crazy and uncontrollable.  Because they were though of this way, they were physically treated poorly.  They were beaten and pushed around by the nurses.  They were given cold baths, and everyone used the same water.  This was highly unsanitary and not healthy for the patients.  

Today we have a better understanding of mental illness.  People with mental illnesses are treated as normal people.  When someone is admitted today they are treated with respect and patience.  The doctors now understand that there is a treatment that could make you better.  You are not crazy you just need help.  There is no physical abuse.  You are able to perform good hygiene.  You can take your own hot shower and you can keep yourself clean and tidy.  

Back then people with a mental illness were seen as animals.  People thought they were just crazy and incurable.  Some even thought they may have been possessed.  They were locked up because nobody wanted to have to deal with them.  The doctors and nurses didn’t care how the patients were treated.  They thought they could abuse them and they would scare them enough that they wouldn’t tell anybody, even if they did, nothing would be done about it.  They were also fed next to nothing.  What they were fed was not nutritional, it was not enough to live off of.  

Today mentally ill people are able to live normal lives.  Most times you are not even able to tell that a person has a mental illness.  These people are able to work normal jobs, they can attend school, get a degree, pursue any dreams they might have.   Many times, if they are admitted to a facility, it is by their own choice.  When they are admitted they are treated with respect and dignity.  They are there to get help.  They want to better themselves.  They go through extensive therapy and treatment plans. I wish I could say that there is absolutely no abuse, but from my personal experience, I know that there is some.  Many times, it was to gain control of a patient who was lashing out, however sometimes it was unnecessary force used against calm patients.  They are fed full, hearty meals.  Of course, they’re not gourmet meals, but they are healthy and provide all the nutritional values a person needs.  



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