By the mid 1800s, mental health treatment came a long way from the horrendous and humiliating conditions of the 1600s and 1700s. The West Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum in Victorian England came to symbolize this new era in mental healthcare.
The West Riding Asylum was completely self-sufficient and built to keep its inmates isolated from the outside world. While conditions inside the asylum were markedly better than in other facilities, inmates still faced dehumanization from the staff because of their mental states. Evidence of this loss of humanity can be seen in portraits taken of several inmates.
Diagnosed with “monomania of pride.”
Doctors diagnosed this man with “mania of suspicion.”
Instead of having their names written under the portraits, the staff wrote in their diagnosed mental condition. It”s the only evidence left of who these inmates were. If you look closely, you can see that acute loss of self in these photos. They”re haunting, almost beyond description.
She was suffering from “consecutive dementia.”
Doctors diagnosed this woman as suffering from “general paralysis.”
Suffering from “acute melancholia.”
She was said to be suffering from “simple mania.”
A “senile dementia” patient.
This young man was said to be suffering from “consecutive dementia.”
While these poor souls may not have had the best of lives, we can be certain that their time inside of the West Riding Asylum was better than that of the patients who went to other asylums during the Victorian era. Let”s just hope they”re finally at peace after years of “treatment.”