Mental Institutions Katie Quinn


Mental institutions in the 1800’s were unable to effectively treat patients due to the insufficient patient care, terrible sanitation, and inadequate staffing.

Patient Care

"they pounced upon her and slapped her face and knocked her head in a lively fashion. This made the poor creature cry the more, and so they choked her. Yes, actually choked her,” (Bly)

Patient Care

"I think I experienced some of the sensations of a drowning person as they dragged me gasping, shivering, and quaking from the tub,” (Bly)

Poor Sanitation

“I was taken into a dirty cabin, where I found my companions seated on a narrow bench. The small windows were closed, and, with the smell of the filthy room, The air was shifting,” (Bly)

Poor Sanitation

“Once a week the patients are given a bath, and that is the only time they see soap.[...] On bathing day the tub is filled with water, and the patients are washed, one after the other, without a change of water. This is done until the water is really thick, and then it is allowed to run out and the tub is refilled without being washed. The same towels are used on all the women, those with eruptions as well as those without,” (Bly)

Inadequate Staff

“consigned to the asylum without a chance of making herself understood.[...] But here was a woman taken without her own consent from the free world to an asylum and there given no chance to prove her sanity. Confined most probably for life behind asylum bars, without even being told in her language the why and wherefore,” (Bly)

inadequate staff

Doctors “found a great deal of amusement in teasing the harmless old soul,” (Bly)


Mental institutions were incapable of caring for patients properly because patients were treated terribly, sanitation was poor and there was a tremendous amount of inadequate staffing. Luckily, institutions have improved since the 1800’s but, the terrible stories of life inside asylums still haunts many in the current era.

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