This July 7, 2012 article on the ReadingEagle.com website talks a little about the Amish and Mennonite communities, which in itself isn’t really enough reason to post the article here, despite my curiosity about them, this is after all a Mental Health Issues blog. So, how exactly do the Amish fit into this picture? Simple, During World War I (WWI) many of the Amish and Mennonites who refused to serve in the military were classified as Conscientious Objectors (COs) and instead of serving in the military, there was a part of the COs that spent a good part of WWI working in State Hospitals in various places across the county. As a result of their time spent working in these facilities, many changes were made to how people with mental illnesses were treated. This article very briefly mentions this bit of history that is often overlooked by historians who write about WWI.
I have read a book called “The Turning Point: How Men of Conscience Brought About Major Change in the Care of America’s Mentally Ill” by Alex Sareyan the link will take you to amazon.com’s listing of it, and now it seems pretty pricey, but it is possible the price could shift, but it does a decent job at describing the conditions that the Cos worked in and offers a bit of a window into the changes they worked to make to improve the treatment of the mentally ill. It is one book that if you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it especially if you are into history of the mental health community in America.
- Mennonites Meet With President Roosevelt (mymennonitememoir.wordpress.com)