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for Dix, Dorothea Lynde, 1802-1887
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As part of a greater trend across the nation, the state began to increase attention on the mentally disabled in the late 18th- and early 19th-centuries. In 1848, the Senate passed a bill approving of the establishment of a hospital and the means for funding and staffing such an institution. The passing of this bill can be attributed in large part to the efforts of Miss Dorothy Dix, an advocate for the mentally ill. The article reviews the political and social history of establishing an institution to treat the state's mentally handicapped.
Dorothea Lynde Dix (1802-1887) worked to help the mentally ill and helped create the first mental asylums in America. She went to North Carolina in 1848 to change attitudes concerning mental illness and found mental institutions there.
The Dorothea Dix mental health hospital in Raleigh is closing. There is an increasing nationwide trend of state hospitals for the mentally ill closing due to a lack of funding. These hospitals are often turned into expensive condos while the former patients of the hospitals find themselves in jails after losing their mental health care facilities and funding. People who are mentally ill and Dorothea Dix’s legacy deserve better and states should do more to help them.