Monday, May 20, 2013

The deinstitutionalization movement began in the late 1950's and continued on throughout the 1960's. The initial country that began pushing the movement was Russia, with the US being the second to adopt the push for reform. It is considered to be one of the most critical time periods in the history of psychiatry and psychiatric practice. The movement came about as numerous people learned of the horrible practices that were occurring in mental hospitals and asylums across the country. One of these people was Ken Kesey.

Before writing his novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Kesey worked night shifts at a mental asylum. It is there that he received much of his inspiration to write his novel. Kesey drew much of his own experience as being witness to the treatment of the mentally ill to model how the Acutes and the Chronics interacted with Big Nurse Ratched and the faculty members. Kesey hints at many deinstitutionalization true life events throughout his novel, the most important being the fact that one of the hospital doctors spoke poorly of how the patients were treated. With the help of brave doctors who revealed the terrible practices and authors like Ken Kesey who spread the word through his literature, the deinstitutionalization movement became an issue in the forefront of society.

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