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Question by Jay: What was treatment for mental health issues like in the 1970s?
In Australia, Melbourne?
Or anywhere else in the world. . .
How was it treated?
What was the stigma attached to having mental health issues?
How were patients or sufferers treated in the wider community?
Answer by Pamela
At first, the mentally ill, developmentally delayed, and intellectually challenged were hidden away from society, as they had been for 100s of years in English culture. There were mental hospitals that generally weren’t effective in treating mental illness. If a mental illness came to an end, such as periodic depression, a person might be released to family. Medical techniques included chemical and physical restraints in the worst hospitals, and in the 70s, medication treatment. Medications that were popular were Seconal, Barbiturates, heavy tranquilizers/antipsychotics such as Thorazine. Lithium was being used in England and the US, and probably in Melbourne. These drugs helped people to live more normal lives, and to live in their communities or with family. The large, old mental hospitals have either been razed or turned into offices. If people are living together, it’s in houses with 6-8 residents and a landlord or landlord’s resident manager. Otherwise, the mentally ill are free to live and work wherever they can.
Stigma has always been and is still a big problem in Australia and around the world. People often fear the mentally ill, or dislike having them as neighbours. Most of us are quiet and don’t like to draw attention to ourselves. Mentally ill persons with a dual diagnosis of alcoholism or drug abuse make the rest of us look bad, as they can often be rowdy and violate the law. Since there are now dozens of medications to choose from for affective, schizophrenic, and anxiety disorders, people are more motivated to seek treatment than in the past. With the right doctor and treatment, a normal or fairly normal life is possible.
What do you think? Answer below!