“Philly mental health community reflects on Byberry state hospital closure 25 years later “

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This June 22, 2015 article on the NewsWorks website talks about the need to commemorate the people who suffered at Philadelphia State Hospital or “Byberry” as it is often called.  The article also points out that people with mental health issues generally do better when they can receive services in the community instead of being placed in a large institution.  The article also indicates that by nature, large institutions sacrifice the humanity of the people placed there in exchange for efficiency of the work.

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“Vanished mental-health archives stymie genealogists”

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This February 15, 2015 article on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette website talks about the frustration face by many genealogists who try to trace the lives of family members who have been dead for may years, but spent time in a state hospital or other mental health treatment facility.

“Satcher-Kennedy: How to fix mental health system”

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This February 4, 2015 USA Today article talks about 4 changes that could improve the way that people with mental illnesses are treated and viewed.

English: 1857 lithograph by Armand Gautier, sh...

English: 1857 lithograph by Armand Gautier, showing personifications of dementia, megalomania, acute mania, melancholia, idiocy, hallucination, erotic mania and paralysis in the gardens of the Hospice de la Salpêtrière. Reprinted in Madness: A Brief History (ISBN 978-0192802668), from which this version is taken. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Asylum for the severely mentally ill”

High Royds solitary confinement - geograph.org...

High Royds solitary confinement – geograph.org.uk – 1047059 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Asylum for the severely mentally ill.

This undated audio segment found on the WHYY – Voices In The Family, talks about the issues surrounding the treatment of people with mental illnesses describing how state hospitals have been run in the past, the closure of many of them, and the result of poor funding of community based services which has resulted in an influx of people with mental illnesses ending up in jails and prisons where they are often heavily medicated or placed in solitary confinement for long periods of time.   There is a link within the description of the segment pointing to an article on the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) “Improving Long-term Psychiatric Care Bring Back the Asylum” is a freely accessible publication and is the article that the interview in this segment is based on.

“Museum of disABILITY”

This museum is dedicated to the history of what it has been like for people with disabilities.  They offer traveling exhibits that can be rented.  It is an interesting site to browse.

“Abandoned America website spawns book on crumbling beauties”

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This December 30, 2014 NewsWorks article talks about the first book of photographs of abandoned place to be published by Abandoned America.

“Allow memorial plaque for Willard state hospital grave-digger Lawrence Mocha!”

Petition Link

This Petition was started by people who want to see a man who spent a huge portion of his life digging grave for patients who died at Willard State Hospital.  Lawrence Mocha never received pay for any of the graves he dug.  The folks who started the petition want to place a plaque at the Willard State Hospital cemetery to honor the life of Lawrence for his service to the state hospital.  so far , the state of New York has refused to allow this citing “confidentiality” despite the fact that information the people want to include on the plaque came from public sources such as the census and social security records.  The folks have been struggling to get this plaque placed for sometime now and are asking that anyone who supports the idea of not only Lawrence Mocha being offered the dignity of being recognized as having value, but also the recognition of the many many others who are buried in nameless grave in state hospital cemeteries not just at Willard State Hospital but elsewhere as well.

The book titled “The Lives They Left Behind” includes the story about Lawrence Mocha’s work as a grave digger for Willard State Hospital, and also has stories about the lives of other patients who were at Willard State Hospital as well.  Th book is well worth the time it takes to read it, and reads fast.

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