Treatment of the Mentaly

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Treatment of the Mentaly

Treament Of the Mentally Ill


Elizabeth Jane Cochran (aka. Nellie Bly)was born on May 5, 1864. She was born in a small town in Pennsylvania. She had 13 siblings, a mother and a father. Her father, a mill worker who eventually became a wealthy mill owner, but her father unfortunately passed away when she was 6 years old. Her mother, Mary Jane, re-married a man who was very abusive, forcing her to go through a very tortuous divorce. Nellie Bly was an intelligent girl. She was educated at the Indiana State Normal School, before she was forced to drop out due to money. She later then married a 72 year old, named named Robert L. Seaman. Nellie Bly later died in 1922.

Personal Motivation


After taken out of the insane asylum she wrote a book. Her book is called "Ten Days In A Madhouse", it talks about her experiences in the insane asylum. The resulting stories by Bly caused a sensation across the country, effected reforms at Blackwell's Island, and earned her a permanent post at the World. Also, because of her stories she helped get three million dollars for institutional improvements. In addition, the Newseum in Washington DC felt her story had such an impact to the world of journalism, that they made a clip of her story. The system changed for treating the mentally ill.

The Industrial Revolution was a time period in which there were many problems that occurred. Including how poorly people were treated in insane asylum . Nellie Bly realized how bad the patients were treated. So, she wanted to do something about it.


Historical Content

The insane asylum on Blackwell's Island was mad house. The patients were treated very badly. They were forced to take freezing cold baths, eat unhealthy food(occasionally with bugs), and many were beaten. Some of the insanes were put in straight jackets. Some were forced into Diathermia. Diathermia was a treatment that involved sending a jolt of electricity through the patient's brain. It also proved to be unpredictable and harmful. The Insane Asylum was supposed to help people, but instead it was like a bad prison.

Because of Nellie Bly's abusive stepfather, she wanted to expose inhumane treatment of mentally ill patients while working as a reporter. Nellie wanted to write a riviting story about this issue. Nellie was eventually assigned to go under-cover as a patient in the notorious asylum on Blackwell's Island and report first-hand on her experience, in order to discover the truth behind reports of abuses there.

Nellie Bly's experiences in the insane asylum were horrible. For the days she was subjected to freezing cold baths,inedible food(They are served thick slices of bread with rancid butter and five prunes each, along with bowls “filled with a pinkish-looking stuff which the patients called tea), and abusive nurses (they would make her stay in a freezing cold room). Nellie Bly experienced the lengths to which the nurses went to amuse themselves with a sliding scale of heartbreaking cases. For example, they teased this girl Urena until she started crying and yelling. " She grew more hysterical every moment until they pounced upon her and slapped her face and knocked her head in a lively fashion"-Nellie Bly. When the tenth day was over, her lawyer sent in for her release. "The Insane Asylum on Blackwell’s Island is a human rat-trap. It is easy to get in, but once there it is impossible to get out"-Nellie Bly.

Real-Life Experience

What a mysterious thing madness is. I have watched patients whose lips are forever selaed in a perpetual silence.

Energy rightly applied and directed will accomplish anything"


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