The stigma surrounding the topic that we all know as mental health and the patients who are suffering from mental disorders isn’t anything less than tragic. Based around strong genetic research and studies, family history often tends to play a huge role when it comes to mental health disorders. It’s also very heartbreaking and sad how history has dealt with mental disorders.

In the past centuries, studies of mental disorders were neither accepted or discussed. If anyone from within your family exhibited unusual behaviors or was considered “strange,” people tended to care for their members and take responsibility for them in secrecy at their homes. Even in an age where people still believe that progressive measures have been taken on the topic of accepting mental health risks and challenges, we still do have quite a ways to go. However, mental illness was mainly understood and looked at as a threat throughout the turn of the century, and caused deep-rooted societal paranoia.

Mental patients were looked at as if they were criminals, and they were forced into being ostracized and shunned on terrible ways. Facilities were soon built in order to house the “sick.” Being advertised as hospitals and for those families who could afford the treatments and care, they were marketed as a secondary option. Most of these asylums actually did the exact opposite, even though the intent was only to provide care and therapeutic treatments for their patients.

Here are 15 disturbing stories about mental asylum abuse. Which one shakes you up the most?

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Always Smiling


In the 1950s, an asylum was thought to have allegedly hired a new doctor who all of his patients referred to as Dr. Smile, but there was no reason to smile with this doctor.

He absolutely despised the stigma of mental asylums and did everything in his power to do something about this. His largest complaint was that he always noticed patients with frowns on their faces. The doctor stated that it made him sad when he saw his patients constantly frowning and that patients should not make their doctors “sad.”

The doctor then demanded that every time he passed a patient by, they would be smiling in his presence. And if they were not smiling as he passed, he would mention this to the staff and have them do something about it. Patients who did not smile were the subjects of very inhumane and cruel treatments.

The doctor would order that the patients who didn’t smile have floss tightly wrapped around their heads, creating a false smile. The mouths would then be forced open and floss would then be wrapped around. This make it appear as if the patient was actually smiling. The floss that was wrapped around never came off.

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