Discovery of Mental Health

Mental health is prevalent as much physical health nowadays. The stage of recognition of Mental health is at par level. But, if we retrospect Mental health, the term and its awareness were started in the late 20th century and widely accepted in the early 21st century.

Let me take you to the journey of discovery of Mental health which takes you to the full of surprises.

General theories of mental disorders

If we gaze the past of our ancestors – three theories of mental illness had observed.


This theory attributed mental illness caused by evil spirits, eclipses, curses, or sins.


It focused on physical dis-functioning from genetic inheritance, illness, or brain damage


This theory is based on traumatic or stressful experiences in one’s life.


What were the ideologies towards mental health?

During Victorian times( 1820 – 1914), the issues of mental health were related to the biology of women. These were the causes as :

  • Menstruation-related anger
  • Pregnancy-related sadness
  • Disobedience
  • Anxiety

Even in today’ s era, anxiety comes under mental health. But if we talk about menstruation and pregnancy, it is a normal living in modern women lives not come under the causes of mental illness.

Well, if we talk about disobedience then it was highlighted in the feminist movement where women took a stand for their equal rights.

Treatment for Mental health

In America’s history in the 1840s, individuals who had mental illnesses put in institutions that were very similar to jails. People weren’t allowed the chance to leave as they entered in asylums.

Furthermore, in these asylums had individuals with mental illnesses to be treated in manners that were unspeakably brutal. The people just seemed to disappear, if they entered in asylums.

Many writers around 1880s came up to aware of the brutal realities of mental asylums.

Therapies in the 1930s

Techniques that were used on the mentally ill included:

  • Insulin-induced comas

Brought to the United States by Manfred Sakel, a German neurologist, insulin shock treatment infused elevated levels of insulin into patients to cause spasms and coma. After some hours, the patient comes out from coma, and it was the belief that it is the cure for mental illness.

This treatment was repeated daily, with 50 to 60 times per patient. Be that as it may, the procedure was clearly dangerous and caused amnesia.

  • Lobotomies

In the mid-1940s, it was believed that the cause of the mental illness is the damage of neural connections in the prefrontal cortex area of the brain.

The professor at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York told Live Science. “The idea was, if you could damage those connections, you could stop the bad behaviours.”

The problem was, lobotomies didn’t just stop bad behaviours. They damaged people’s memories and personalities.

  • Electroshock therapy

One of the most infamous treatments for mental illness includes electroconvulsive shock therapy. in treating mental illness began in 1938.

ECT carried less risk of fracture than metrazol shock therapy, and with the use of anaesthetics and muscle relaxers in later years, the fracture rate became negligible. It wasn’t without side effects, however, including amnesia as well as increased suicidal tendencies. Ernest Hemingway, for example, died by suicide shortly after an ECT treatment. Source

So, these were the treatment, if exists now they might shock you or you would pretend that your mental health is perfect.


When was it formally accepted?

During 1946, the International Health Conference, held in New York, the World Health Organization (WHO) was established and a Mental Health Association was founded in London.

In 1948, the First International Congress on Mental Health took place in London. At the second session of the WHO’s Expert Committee on Mental Health (September 11-16, 1950), “mental health” and “mental hygiene” were defined as follows 3:

“Mental hygiene refers to all the activities and techniques which encourage and maintain mental health.

Mental health is a condition, subject to fluctuations due to biological and social factors, which enables the individual to achieve a satisfactory synthesis of his own potentially conflicting, instinctive drives; to form and maintain harmonious relations with others, and to participate in constructive changes in his social and physical environment.”

However, a clear and widely accepted definition of mental health as a discipline was (and is) still missing.


Now if you look today, many associations came up to eradicate the mental diseases. Psychology has worked so far that now treatment of mental health is easy and simple for those who are in deep anxiety and need assistance. And much online presence has come to deal with mental issues who can help you if you’re feeling stressed and in depression.

You can also read Mental health in Corona days to overcome this battle of the pandemic.

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