The role of work in mental illness has a long and varied career. The inability to work is a major disabling characteristic of serious mental disorders, and the capacity to work a sign of mental health. Not surprisingly, therefore, many forms of treatment involved work-related activity as a therapeutic intervention. However, in those situations when large institutions were the sites for treating mental disorders, work as a treatment slipped easily from treatment and the prevention of idleness into a form of servitude that eased the financial burden of institutional care under the guise of therapeutic intervention. The work on asylum farms and light industries making uniforms, shoes, and other goods for the institution provided a much-needed income for institutions that were dependent upon public funding that was always grudging and often inadequate. Modern treatment of mental illness, responding to civil-rights concerns and the advent of better treatments, has moved the...
Work, Psychiatry and Society c. 1750–2015. Edited by Waltraud Ernst (Manchester, Manchester University Press 2016) 392 pp. $125.00
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Miles F. Shore; Work, Psychiatry and Society c. 1750–2015. Edited by Waltraud Ernst (Manchester, Manchester University Press 2016) 392 pp. $125.00. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2017; 47 (4): 542–543. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/JINH_r_01057
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