United States History


Healthcare professionals have been overlooking mental health for centuries resulting in inadequate care. This paper reviews the progression of mental health care from the 13th century to the present day in order to understand why we are seeing a gap in healthcare. Mental illness is a growing health condition in the United States with nearly one in every five adults experiencing some form of mental illness a year (Parekh, 2018). In order to understand what mental illness is and why it is so common despite the majority of cases being treatable, one must understand the social and historical progression and stigma associated with it. A literature review on the history of mental illness in American was conducted, using the context of social history to understand the general progression of mental illness treatment and care, as well as the impact of medicalization and the stigma individuals have experienced. The current understanding of mental illness and the field of psychiatry is a relatively recent phenomenon. Developments in neuroscience and behavioral and cognitive psychology have led to improvements in the quality of care and treatment methods for those with mental illnesses. However, stigma still persists and clouds society’s and healthcare professionals’ judgements, preventing the opportunity for the best possible care. In addition to more research, awareness and education on mental health and illness are needed.

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