Better than bloodletting? Despite centuries of change, the treatment of mental illness remains largely the same – The Correspondent

There is a famous 19th-century painting of Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) striding through the courtyard in Salpêtrière hospital in Paris at the height of the French Revolution calling for the removal of the chains restraining the psychiatric patients. The scene is an imagined one – or, rather, a condensed and heightened version of reality – but there is some truth to it. At the time, the hospital mostly served as a prison for sex workers and as a holding place for women with mental illnesses, cognitive disabilities and epilepsy. The artwork conveys just how radical Pinel’s reforms were. But it also captures an assumption that remains pervasive: that the history of institutionalisation is barbaric and things are invariably better today. It is an easy assumption to make – but not entirely accurate.    […]

Source: Better than bloodletting? Despite centuries of change, the treatment of mental illness remains largely the same – The Correspondent


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