Mental Health Care Treatments Past to Present

The Byberry Mental Health Hospital Philadelphia Early 1900’s

by on Feb.20, 2014, under Uncategorized

When reading through another blog that had a list of abandoned hospitals and mental asylums I came across the Byberry Mental Health Hospital and me being…well me I instantly wanted to do a focus post on it. Mainly because of the disgusting and horrible conditions in it when it was in use, those types of things always draw me in because I want to inform others about them.

Today if you ever go to the hospital it will look like this:

Byberry Mental Hospital. 2010. Photograph., Philadelphia . Web. 20 Feb 2014. .

Byberry Mental Hospital. 2010. Photograph., Philadelphia . Web. 20 Feb 2014. <>.

The hospital was built in 1906 as a small work farm, quickly patients began to file in, some were sent there by the respective hospitals they were staying at as a last resort. The Byberry hospital was soon full and overrun. The patients problems went from mentally ill to criminally insane and the hospital couldn’t keep up, many patients never got fit enough to leave and lived out the remainder of their lives there which I expect must have been just horrible in all kinds of ways…

The truth about everything in the Byberry Mental Health Hospital came out to the outside world when a man by the name of Charlie Lord came there. He had been sent to work as a orderly for a punishment and right away was disgusted with the conditions he saw. Many patients were in the nude, nestled together in bare, concrete rooms relieving themselves on the floor and they received no humanitarian treatment or stimulation at all.  When Lord tried to tell others about it no one believed him, so he snuck a camera in and photographed everything. One of the first to view the horrifying pictures was Eleanor Roosevelt, she then pledged  to put a stop to the inhumane things going on at Byberry. By 1946 the pictures were put in Time Magazine and helped the the reform of mental health come about.

Even so the Byberry Mental Health Hospital did not improve, it failed every inspection throughout the 1980’s and rumors began to fly around about how the patients were mistreated. One man claimed that during his time at Byberry he was chained to his bed for 14 months. Another person said that they had watched one patient murder another and then hide the disjointed body parts around the hospital, they said the killer escaped and was never found. By 1990 the hospital was closed and has been abandoned ever since.



Greenberg, Rachel. “Afflicted: 11 Abandoned American Hospitals and Asylums “Open” for Exploration.”, 17 Jul 2010. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. <>.

1 Comment for this entry

  • Hope, Sarahanne

    Wow! The sneaking in of the camera made a huge difference! Do you think the world has changed because of the prevalence of cameras and videos? How do things like you tube hold people people accountable. Or do they?

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