Dorothea Dix Once Said…

Dorothea Lynde Dix was born on April 4, 1802 and she died on July 17, 1887. Dorothea was an American advocate on behalf of the indigent mentally ill. Dorothea lobbied state legislatures and Congress, to help make the first American mental asylums.

In a world where there is so much to be done. I felt strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do. – Dorothea Dix

Dorothea’s mother was ill and she was raised by her grandparents to get away from her alcoholic and abusive Father. She starting teaching ethical and natural sciences at a very young age and would go on to teach poor and neglected, perhaps her altruism came from her own mental illness. She wrote books and traveled the country documenting mental health conditions then took it to legislature to help with the Bill for the Benefit of the Indigent Insane, Congress passed the bill but President Franklin Pierce would veto it. However that became part of the initiatives to help mental illness and create asylums.

I come as the advocate of helpless, forgotten, insane men and women. Of beings sunk to a condition from which the unconcerned world would start with real horror. – Dorothea Dix

She became Superintendent the Army nurses during the Civil War and advised her nurses be older and plain so they wouldn’t be bothered by the men. Post war she worked to improve conditions for prisoners, disabled and mentally ill.

Man is not made better by being degraded; he is seldom restrained from crime by harsh measures, except the principle of fear predominates in his character and then he is never made radically better for its influence. – Dorothea Dix

I chose to talk about how Dorothea helped the disabled, mentally ill, and prisoners. With her own mental illness she turned that into her strength to stand on her convictions for those who cannot. This is part of why I am so open with my experiences, my PTSD and anxiety and also not keep silent about sexual assault, domestic violence and the other traumas I’ve endured. I want someone to read these things, take them to heart and stand up as I stand to make a difference. To get up and vote, to change the way that things are punished to make certain things have more punishment and not just a slap on the wrist or less. It is way past time for real change.