The stigma that encompasses the subject matter of mental health and the patients that suffer from mental disorders is absolutely tragic. Based on strong genetic research and studies, it’s evident that family history plays a huge factor in mental health disorders. The history of how society has dealt with mental disorders is also overwhelmingly sad and heartbreaking. In past centuries, psychological studies into mental disorders were not openly discussed nor accepted. If a family member was seen as being “strange” or exhibiting any signs of unusual behaviors that were deemed unexplainable, people took the responsibility to care for their sick family members at home—hidden. Even in an age where a lot of us think progressive measures have been made in terms of accepting mental health risks and challenges, we still have a far way to go. During the turn of the century, however, mental illness was understood primarily as a threat, and the threat of mental disorders caused deep-rooted societal paranoia. Patients were seen as criminals; thus, forced into being shunned, and ostracized in the most vicious ways. Facilities were soon built to house the “sick.” They were advertised like hospitals. They were marketed as secondary options for those who could afford the care and treatment of their family members. Even though the original intent for having these facilities built was to provide therapeutic treatments and care for their patients, many of these asylums did the exact opposite. Below are 15 Disturbing Stories About Mental Asylum Abuse.
15. Fun In Hell
Allegedly, a nurse who once worked at a mental facility remembered a patient who thought the bathroom was a portal to hell. The patient was convinced that the devil came to him and spoke direct instructions to bring people to the bathroom. The patient repeatedly dragged other patients to the bathroom where he would then choke them. The staff tried to intervene, but the nurse recalled that the facility was very understaffed and that they couldn’t keep an eye on the patient at all times. Victims would be found in the bathroom. A few were found still alive, but others were killed. It took the staff weeks to remove the deranged patient. The nurse confessed that the staff really didn’t care. Some staff members joked that the patient made their jobs easier. After removal, other nurses reported that the patient kept laughing and yelling in his padded room if anyone wanted to go somewhere “fun.” The patient would be especially vocal if the patient saw a nurse walk by to feed or sedate the patient.
14. Burning Cigarette
Many of the old mental asylums have since closed down, but tales about the creepy patients and disturbing stories echo through the abandoned rusted halls. One patient loved the smell of smoke. The rumor was that the patient’s report stated “pyromania.” The story goes that the patient accidentally burned down their home from a lit cigarette. The patient never fully recovered from the trauma and was sent to their local mental institution. Every time a staff member attended to the patient, the patient would beg for a cigarette. The patient’s usual caretaker was absent one day and the substitute caretaker found the constant begging annoying. The sub-caretaker decided to do something about it. When the patient acted out, the caretaker would light a pack of cigarettes and put it out on the patient to silence the begging, but not the screams.
13. Sleep Tight
During the height of mental asylums, many people were left there to be forgotten. People, whom society felt unfit to function, were frequently abandoned in multiple asylums. Once in the asylum, no one could hear the abandoned cries or screams for help. Many stories include beatings, maltreatment, and other psychological abuse. Stories surfaced about staff members getting bored with some of the non-violent patients. In order to keep themselves entertained, they would switch out the original prescriptions with candy. Other times, when one patient became too vocal, they would sedate that patient and just leave him/her where he/she is for the whole day. Some patients would be tranquilized for fun. The game works when a patient became too loud, allowing the staff to hold down the patient in a private room (away from other patients) and play darts with the tranquilizing needles. Then, they would take the limp body and leave it on the floor as an example to others.
12. The Smile
Allegedly, an asylum in the ’50s hired a new doctor. The patients regarded him as Dr. Smile. The doctor has nothing to smile about. He didn’t like the stigma of mental asylums and wanted to do something about it. His main complaint was seeing patients with frowns. The doctor claimed it made him feel sad to work and that patients shouldn’t make their doctor feel “sad.” The doctor demanded that every time he passed by a patient, he wanted them to smile. If they didn’t, he’d mention for his staff to do something about it. Patients who didn’t smile (not because they didn’t want to) were subjected to cruel treatments. The doctor would order nurses to take floss and to have it be wrapped tightly around the head of the patient to create a false smile. The patient’s mouth would be forced opened and the floss would be wrapped around. This would then make it seem like the patient was smiling. The floss would never come off.
11. Scary Nurse
So far, many abuse cases that have happened in mental asylums go unreported. Some of the stories encompass the whole staff or certain individuals. Famously, nurses have been portrayed by many films as either sweet figures or evil and corrupt characters. The inspiration for the latter doesn’t fall far from reality. ‘Nurse Jackie’, as some speculate her name to be, was a horrendous and feared person in one institution. Patients would run and hide as they heard the click-clack of her heels on the smooth tiled floor. ‘Nurse Jackie’ was notorious for physically assaulting her patients. One story says that she fell madly in love with one of her victims who enjoyed the abuse, but when the patient was removed from her ward, she became crazed and began killing patients that reminded her of her former lover. Her method was suffocation. She’d take pillows and smother patients while they slept.
10. Abandoned Children
When children are left alone from either the death of their parents or when families can no longer afford to take care of their kin, they had two options—go to an orphanage or be placed in institutions. If the child showed strange tendencies, they’d be placed in mental asylums. Children were sometimes kept separate from the adults, but some institutions allowed children to freely roam around with the rest of the adults. Some children, who were left all alone with other adults and had disturbing issues, were more prone to violence and s*xual assault. One story claims of a boy who was caught in the open being molested by another patient several times. He endured this for years. The facility did nothing to stop it. When certain staff members caught the act, they’d beat the patient off the child, but the patient would always return for the boy and continue the intended act.
9. Corpse Print
Mental hospitals are quite large and typically cover a lot of ground. This can be quite beneficial but also very dangerous, especially for those individuals who want to hide deep and dark secrets. The lower floors and the basements of these hospitals are typically the most feared. Most patients avoid these areas due to lack of light and also that it’s mostly prohibited. One story speculates that a nurse was beaten and r*ped in the basement of the mental facility by a patient who had a vendetta. The story goes that the nurse would mentally harass the patient’s friend and did so viciously to the point that the patient’s friend committed suicide. Afterwards, the nurse started targeting the other patient. The patient snapped one evening and somehow kidnapped the nurse to the basement. There, he tortured and physically r*ped her. He then killed her and left her body to rot on the basement floor.
8. Chained Girl
There was once a girl brought to an insane asylum who couldn’t stop starring at other people. She never spoke to anyone and rarely ate, drank, and slept. She’d stare at nurses, patients, and everyone else in between. No one knew how to make her stop. When they would lock her in her room, people would claim to see two small eyes peering back out. The girl, especially, starred at security guards. One guard freaked out. Shock treatments didn’t help nor did the medication. So, what the administration decided to do was to tie her up and make her face the corner of the walls. They’d tie her and chain her up at night in her bed. Then, during the day, she’d be tied up to face nothing but the asylum walls. She was never allowed to look at anyone or anything again. They did this throughout the rest of her stay.
7. Tub Drowning
Mental asylums were never the cleanest places. One of the reasons some of the facilities shut down was due to a lack of sanitation and sanitary care for their patients. Apparently, one patient was frightened of the bathroom tub. The patient protested baths and claimed spirits came out of the drain hole, which would possess the patient. The staff became irate with the patient and decided to lock the patient in the bathroom for a few hours. A few hours passed, and the staff eventually forgot about the locked patient. The following day, when the staff had to go about their duties, they discovered the drowned patient in the tub. Instead of calling the nurses, the staff members did what they were normally told to do—dispose the body down the chute. However, the staff members decided to take the body out of the tub and temporarily put it by the bathroom corner until they finished their duties.
6. The Eyes Are Gone
Trini, as she was nicknamed by other patients, came to her asylum in the late 1800’s. Nobody knew of her background. She had no family, no children, and no spouse. She mostly stayed quiet and behaved pretty well. The only request she made was to look out the window. Trini would stare out the window with her dead eyes. No one knew what she was looking at. Some patients teased her, but Trini wasn’t bothered by them. Trini was different when she had to take her medication, though. She would bite her handlers and nurses every time she would be subjected to her “treatments.” One day, several staff members had enough and punished Trini by permanently blinding her by gouging her eyes out. They took her eyes out to use as medical testing samples. Allegedly, other patients have seen Trini feel her way to a window and continue to stare out of it without her eyes.
A nurse, who confessed on a blog forum, admitted that during the late ’70s, she was a nurse in a mental facility. The nurse recalled her rounds as being simple. She remembered a corridor that she would always pass but thought nothing of. The door wasn’t a patient’s room. The door was a storage room. But every time the nurse would pass the door, she would recall a faint scratching sound. She assumed it was a trapped rat and kept walking by. This gradually became a pattern. Like clockwork, as the nurse passed by the door, a faint scratching sound would be heard. As the week went on, the scratching became fainter and fainter. The nurse was curious when it all stopped one day. On her break, she grabbed a plastic bag and duster to get the dead rat out of the closet. When she opened the door, she was dreadfully shocked to find a dead patient.
4. Make You Feel Better
One popular psychological treatment (still used today) is shock therapy. Under proper supervision, some claim shock therapy works wonders. However, a long time ago, shock therapy was not administered as strictly as some would want you to believe. One story was spread that if patients refused to do anything or did something wrong, they would be subjected to intense shock therapy. Patients would be tied down and a metal head-piece would be placed on them, which would then administer electrodes to fry their brains. Other methods went as far as removing teeth and even the patient’s tongue, so it made it difficult for patients to talk or make noise. Children were subjected to this torture, especially if they were unruly and failed to follow directions. One young patient had her mouth sewn shut for several months. She was fed through a straw sometimes, or not at all.
3. Starving Patients
During World War II, many mentally ill patients were starved to death during the German occupation of Vinatier Psychiatric Hospital located in Lyon, France. This relatively unknown historical event soon led to more serious inquiries about the maltreatment of the mentally ill during this time. Documentation in the hospital’s mortality registry showed huge numbers which estimated around tens of thousands of people who died of forced starvation. The seriousness of the situation was relatively unknown to outsiders. Letters were sent out to family members to describe the dire circumstances of the patients, but were met with mediocre response. Family members assumed the conditions were because of the patient’s mental illness and nothing more. When family members found out the truth and confronted the doctor for answers, the doctor didn’t deny or seem remorseful of the consequences that resulted from the starvation. The doctor simply leaned on the argument of war and small rationing regulations.
Women were treated harshly and unfairly in most mental asylums. During the Victorian era, women were left to rot in these facilities because of “hysteria,” which encompassed anything from PTSD from childbirth, anxiety, to being overworked in factories, and an assortment of other issues. When women became “hysterical,” one of the cruel contraptions used to punish and torture the patients was a flat coffin-like box with bars. The box was so flat that it gave no room to twist, turn, or move comfortably in any way. It’s been alleged that many women were left in these contraptions for months to even years. The female patients defecated, ate, and slept in these contraptions. There was no way out to escape unless you were released, which was rare. If the patient was ever released, an unfortunate consequence in being in this box for a long time was having your limbs being permanently paralyzed and disfigured.
1. Crying Patients
The amount of pain and trauma that went on in mental asylums was just unexplainable. You start to question the severity of the implications on human cruelness. It could make anyone cry. Many patients were brought to the facilities in tears and, of course, in sheer panic because most knew about the circumstances and stories that leaked out from the many mental health institutions. The punishments and treatments were notorious. It frightened children and adults alike. People can be heard kicking and screaming as they went in. Nobody went out. The only way out was through death. There was a story about a patient who cried non-stop at witnessing the atrocities being committed in the asylum. The patient never seemed to stop crying. Then, one day, a miracle (some nurses claimed) happened as the patient stopped crying. But they found out that the patient only stopped because the patient died from grief.