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Cosi - Mental Asylums Through Time


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Amie and Chris' presentation on THE HISTORY OF MENTAL ASYLUMS and their role in Cosi.

Published in: Education, Health & Medicine
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Cosi - Mental Asylums Through Time

  2. 2. MESMER MAGNET Mesmer Magnet therapy was created by Franz Mesmer, who believed that the distortion of an invisible force round the body was responsible for all suffering, and this that could be countered and cured by placing magnets on a patient’s body. Although the practice produced patients that responded positively to the treatment, this was put down to a placebo effect, and so, the word ‘mesmerized’ comes from Franz Mesmer's name, as if to be hypnotized and fooled.
  3. 3. LOBOTOMIES A lobotomy is the separation or the removal of connections between the frontal lobes and the prefrontal cortex. It was done by inserting tools into the corner of a patient’s eye socket, and into their brain. This was used to cure a wide range of conditions considered to be mental disorders. Lobotomies were a very popular treatment option for the mentally between the 40s and 60s. They are still used today in very rare cases. They effectively render patients to be zombies, unable to interact or comprehend the world
  4. 4. ELECTROSHOCK THERAPY Electroshock Therapy was a technique used to treat patients with schizophrenia and severe depression as well as catatonia and mania occasionally. Catatonia is a coma like state where an individual is unresponsive to the world around them and mania is abnormal levels of behaviour, in an opposite way to depression. The aim of Electroshock Therapy is used to induce seizures and a therapeutic treatment.
  5. 5. LITHIUM Lithium, like the stuff in batteries was and still is used today as a method from treating patients with the mood disorder of bi- polar. This would mean that it treats people who range between really depressive states, and really manic states. Lithium would be described as a mood stabiliser. The main effect of Lithium is that it calms a patient, although patients can develop a tolerance and reliance on it, and so it can become
  6. 6. AUSTRALIA’S MENTAL ASYLUMSFirst Asylum – Castle Hill Lunatic Asylum – 1811 – 1826, Castle Hill, NSW Most of Australia's Asylums opened in the mid-late 19th Century or early 20th Century. Today there are only a handful of Asylums in Australia, because of the more widespread reliance on therapy and psychoactive drugs Ararat Asylum – 1865 – 1993, Ararat, VIC Callan Park Hospital for the Insane – 1885 – 2008, Lilyfield NSW Kew Asylum – 1871 – 1988, Kew, Melbourne, VIC
  7. 7. THE ROLE OF THE SETTING OF COSI: AS A METAPHOR The physical location of the play is in a “burnt out theatre” attached to an institution in Melbourne in 1970 . It is in a state of disrepair: it smelt of “burnt wood and mold” and has “a bit of a hole” in the roof and electrical problems with the fuse box. Its condition can represent the attitude of the time towards the mentally ill – that they’re almost ignored and at the end, the theatre being irreparable shows how many of the patients do not have happy endings. The theatre also is a symbol of isolation and ignorance, particularly about the outside world and politics. “You’re always the last to know things in an asylum.” – Cherry. It is a physical barrier between the patients and reality – C ward prohibits them from being allowed outside. The reluctance of the characters to return to their ward (“I prefer this to a ward” – Julie) and the characterisation of it by Zac with his model having “stark white walls” also reiterates the solemness and clinical aspect of the setting. However, “Asylums are the most inefficient places on earth” – Roy shows how it does not operate well. Also, the theatre creates a backdrop for Lewis’ journey – they lighting provided represents the journey of the characters. The “pitch blackness” at the start shows how
  8. 8. ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE ASYLUM• Justin – so while he thinks that the patients are just “normal people who have done extraordinary things, thought extraordinary thoughts”, he also refers to the theatre as “grungy” – so he doesn’t really understand the magnitude of their madness. • Nick – he’s very derisive and negative towards the patients who are “definitely mad”. He refers to the asylum as a funny farm: “They’re coming to take me away, ha, ha, to the funny farm.” Him and Lucy represent the stigma and ignorance in society about mental illness at the time. • Society – attitudes towards the mentally ill in the 1960’s and 1970’s were predominately negative: “the topics of mental health were of limited concern to the public – it was a topic most often treated as a private family matter that was more or less off limits to outsiders except medical professionals.” – From Public Attitudes Toward Persons with Mental Illness by Andrew B. Borinstein.
  9. 9. CURRENT STATUSIn Australia, there are few psychiatric institutions left as they started to decrease in popularity post 1970, most being dismantled in the 80’s and late 90’s: These institutions have been mostly replaced by inpatient services in hospitals. Mental health services in Australia include welfare service system and health care. However, the stigma, discrimination and isolation experienced by some in these programs is ongoing. Current mental institutionsinAustralia 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 ACT VIC NSW QLD NT SA TAS WA State Numberoperational
  10. 10. SOURCES • • • •