The stigma that surrounds the topic that is mental health and the patients that are suffering from mental disorders is nothing less than tragic. Based on strong genetic studies and research, family history seems to play a big role in mental health disorders. How history has dealt with mental disorders in the past is also very sad and heartbreaking.

Studies of mental disorders in past centuries weren’t discussed or accepted. If anyone in your family was considered “strange” or exhibited unusual behaviors that were thought of as unexplainable, people took responsibility and took care of their members at home and in secrecy. Even in an age where many of us think progressive measures have been taken when it comes to accepting mental health challenges and risks, we still have a long way to go. However, mental illness was primarily understood as a threat during the turn of the century, this threat of mental disorders caused deep-rooted societal paranoia.

Mental patients were perceived as criminals, forcing them to be shunned and ostracized in horrible ways. Facilities were soon built to house the “sick.” They were advertised like hospitals and marketed as a secondary option for those who could afford the treatment and care for their family members. Many of these asylums did the exact opposite, even though their intent was to provide therapeutic treatments and care for their patients.

Here are 15 disturbing stories about mental asylum abuse.

1. Always Smiling


An asylum in the 1950s allegedly hired a new doctor that all of the patients called Dr. Smile. The doctor has nothing to smile about. He hated the stigma of mental asylums and wanted to do something about it. His biggest complaint was always seeing patient with frowns. The doctor said that seeing his patients sad made him feel sad and that patients shouldn’t make their doctor feel “sad.” The doctor made it a demand that every time he’d pass by a patient, they’d be smiling. If they weren’t, he’d mention for his staff to do something about it. Patients that didn’t smile were subjected to very cruel and inhumane treatments. The doctor would order that these patients would have floss wrapped tightly around their heads to create a false smile. Their mouths would be forced open and floss would be wrapped around. The would make it look like the patient was smiling. The floss never came off.

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