tisdag 26 augusti 2014

Tuesday's Tip - Records from Mental Hospitals

There has ben mental hospitals in Sweden as far back as the middle ages. There are several musuems that show how the insane were treated and what life was like at the hospiatls and asylums. (link to list of museums).


A lot of the people treated at the hospital were women with frail nerves. If a woman was not happy taking care of her home she could from the beginning of the 20th century get electrical shock treatment.

If you find somebody in your family who spent time at one of these hospitals or asylums their journals can be found at the County Council archives. The journals tell the story of why the patients were taken care of, if they had been treated there or some where else earlier and which kind of medication that was given. The law about confidentiality, that everything is kept sekcret for 70 years, does not always apply to journals of this kind. The confidentiality is tried for each case and it depends on who is asking for the journals. But after  70 years they are available for everybody.

The records from the mental hospital Säter, for instance, is kept at Dalarna's County Council archives. Säter is probably one of Sweden's most famous mental institutions and is situated in Skönvik. It was built after a survey in 1902 determined that the counties of Gotland, Jönköping, Kopparberg, Kronoberg and Värmland had a high rate of insanity and amentia. Säter's Hospital opened in 1912 and was at the time one of Sweden's largest and most modern mental hospitals with 37 buildings. 20 of these were for taking care of up to 830 patients. The same year the "permanent" pavilion opened for the most dangerous patients. Several additions were made during the years and in 1975 the old main building from 1912 was torn down and replaced after huge restorations had been made to the rest of the hospital. In 1989 the "permanent" pavilion was closed down.

Tub for cold baths at Säter.
Photos used with permission from the photographer. More of her photos can be found at http://amateaur.se/

Source: http://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A4ters_sjukhus
"Släkt" a magazine for Swedish genealogists. Year 32, no 5, 2013

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