1950s TREATMENT OF THE MENTALLY ILL MOVIE COLUMBUS STATE HOSPITAL 89534
Created at the Columbus State Hospital in the 1950s, “City of the Sick” is a documentary about mental illness and the hospital itself, narrated by a fictional hospital attendant (Ken Kesey he's not). According to the narration, one of every twenty people in the city would suffer from a mental illness in this era. According to Professor Robert Wagner, who helped create the film, it was actually intended for new attendants and "was both instructional and motivational. We tried to establish how mental patients behave and how an attendant should react to what went on inside the hospital as an introduction to his work."
Hydrotherapy is seen at the 15 minute mark, and electroshock therapy seen at 15:20.
Columbus State Hospital first opened in 1838 and was originally known as the "Lunatic Asylum of Ohio". After a fire devastated the original asylum in 1868, the Ohio Legislature authorized reconstruction of the institution on a different tract of land. An immense Kirkbride building was completed in 1877. Construction took seven years and the total cost was over $1,500,000.
The building was very similar in appearance to the Athens State Hospital Kirkbride, although it was significantly larger. The distance around the foundation was reportedly one and a quarter miles in length. The building was designed to accommodate 850 patients—well over Dr. Kirkbride's prescribed 250 patient limit and still greater than the more generous AMSAII recommendation of 600 patients.
The institution closed in the late 1980s. Unfortunately, attempts at preservation failed and the Kirkbride was razed in 1991. The Ohio Department of Public Safety and Department of Transportation now call the former asylum grounds home, sharing them with four remaining hospital cemeteries.
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