Journal article Open Access

Psychiatric Hospitals their Early History to the 20th Century in Canada

Sussman S

During the late 18th and early 19th century the mentally ill who were not considered dangerous or too much of a nuisance were left to wander at will in the forests, towns, and country side. County jails as well as locked attics provided by frightened relatives were also common collecting places for the mentally ill. Departments of health, welfare or corrections did not exist and were not anticipated in the early farming and pioneer environment. As industrialization proceeded and both the nuisance value of the mentally ill increased in town and country, ad hoc committees composed of politicians and occasional clergymen, doctors or judges were formed The penitentiaries and asylums came into being through this process. The social reform movement came about in the mid 19th century. In New Brunswick which has the distinction of having had the first provincial asylum, the 1836 Report of the Commissioners had as a central theme the moral treatment of the insane

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