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Dorthea Dix
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Dorthea Dix – A Voice For The Mentally Ill

Dorthea Dix – A Voice For The Mentally Ill

Dorthea Dix was an American nurse. Here are some facts about her:

– She was born in Hampden, Maine in 1802. She had a difficult childhood, as her father was not often home and her mother suffered from depression. She was the oldest child, so she took care of her younger siblings until she was 12, when she moved to Boston to be with her grandmother.

– She was a bright child, who loved reading and education, so she became a teacher. She was big for helping others. She often taught poor girls in her house for free. She also wrote a few children’s books, her most famous one being Conversations on Common Things.

She traveled to England, in her early thirties. While she was there, she learned about the predicament of the mentally ill and how poorly they were treated. They were housed in cages, tied, chained, and beaten. Dorthea felt this deeply and found her calling. She decided that she wanted to help the mentally ill for her career.

– She moved back to the United States and investigated the treatment of the mentally ill in Massachusetts, her notes and observations led to a bill being passed for improvement of the mental hospital in Worcester.

– From her work in Massachusetts, she went to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Illinois. In most of these states legislation for better mental hospitals was passed.

– In 1861, when the American Civil War broke out she wanted to help. Since she knew many people in the government, she became the Superintendent of Army Nurses for the Union. She helped to train and recruit women to become nurses.

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