Last night I watched Mental: A History of the Madhouse on BBC4 detailing life in the asylums of Britain in the middle of the last century. The show specifically mentioned High Royds, however I have no doubt that conditions were similar in most other institutions throughout the UK in the similar era.
It was particularly saddening to see how easily people were committed and How long they would stay within the mental health when there was no real need.
It was also shocking to see that lobotomising and trepanning was used in such an un-scientific manner and often caused patients mental conditions to worsen.
Electro treatment was also highlighted with disturbing footage of what appears to be barbaric application. The patients were given no anesthetic, held down by staff and electrodes placed on the temples as the patient was electrocuted, often resulting in convulsion and fits.
Having spent a fair deal of time in Hellingly, West Park and a couple of other mental hospitals its a very sobering thought to know what previously took place there and the inhumane way in which people were treated in the name of their health.