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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.

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“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.

“Forteniters Club in Norristown celebrates 40 years of fellowship”

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This December 28, 2014 The Times Herald article talks about a group that meets every couple of weeks and consists of people who have been in treatment for mental illness.  the group focuses on getting together to have fun, socialize and feel a sense of belonging to a community that is something people with mental illnesses tend to struggle with.  The atmosphere is one of acceptance.

“60 Minutes: Denied”

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This December 14, 2014 60 Minutes segment talks about the problems occurring when insurance companies deny people with mental health issues services.

60 Minutes

60 Minutes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

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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.

“As state mental institutions close, the final resting places for many patients are forgotten”

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This July 17, 2014 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article talks about what is happening to the cemeteries that were once part of now closed state hospitals where the remains of patients who lived and died at the hospital were laid to rest.

The Fairfield State Hospital is a huge place t...

The Fairfield State Hospital is a huge place that was built 1933 to house the insane patients overflowing from two other state hospitals in Connecticut. The place is as big as a Ive League School. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Times In-Depth: Erie County Prison becomes hub for care of mentally ill”

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This June 22, 2014 article on the GoErie.com website talks about the struggle faced by the Erie County jail to care for the mentally ill who end up in jail most often for nuisance type charges according to the article.  This is something that as the article points out is being seen nationwide and is not unique to Erie county.

Map of Erie County (without text).

Map of Erie County (without text). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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