20th Century

The 20th century saw an advancement in treatment methods not only for civilians but for veterans returning home following WWII (Dickinson, 1990; Fay, 1955). The hospitalization of many individuals was followed by a wave of deinstitutionalization (Krieg, 2001; Porter, Kaplan, & Homeier, 2009). Despite a greater freedom for individuals, many problems occurred as a result.

Francis Galton’s stance on Eugenics may have contributed to the belief that sterilization was the best way to deal with the mentally ill in order to keep them from reproducing (Galton, 1865). After the theory of eugenics lost popularity, outpatient clinics became popular.  Many people believed that outpatient psychiatric clinics which allowed individuals to maintain some freedom in their lives but also be treated when necessary.   Unfortunately, this was not the case and many of the mentally ill patients actually did worse when placed into out-patient care (Grob, 1991).


Dickinson, E. (1990). From madness to mental health: A brief history of psychiatric treatments in the UK from 1800 to the present. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 53, 419-424.

Fay, T., Hadden, S. B., Langdon, R. L., Mallin, A. W., Nodine, J. H., Wilson, W. W., Winkelman, N. W., Winlock, R. M. (1955). General treatment measures, psychotherapeutic measures, and the drastic therapies. In D. J. McCarthy & K. M. Corrin (Eds.) Medical Treatment of Mental Disease, (pp. 491-604). Philadelphia, PA, US: J. B. Lippincott Company.

Galton, F. (1865). Hereditary talent and character. Macmillan’s Magazine, 12, 318-327.

Grob, G. N. (1991). The chronic mentally ill in America: The historical context. In V. Fransen (Ed.) Mental health services in the United States and England: Struggling for Change, (pp. 3-17). Princeton, N.J., US: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Kreig, R. G. (2001). An interdisciplinary look at the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill. The Social Science Journal, 38, doi: 10.1016/S0362-3319(01)00136-7

Porter, R. S., Kaplan, J. L., & Homeier, B. P. (2009).  The MERCK Manual Home Health Handbook. Whitehouse Station, NJ, US: MERCK Research Laboratories.

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