This Week's Facts:
Document of the Month: Report of the Commissioners of the Lunatic Asylum, or Indiana Hospital for the Insane, to the General Assembly
….”I will Speak in reference to the qualifications of a site, which may be enumerated as follows, viz: As regards healthiness, supply of water, elevation, proximity to the place of meeting of the Legislature, and to a large town, a central position in the State, the size and character of the farm, retirement, scenery, and as regards susceptibility of improvement in groves, gardens, &c.” - John Evans, June 22, 1845
This paragraph offers a historic look into the beginning of Indiana’s Mental Hospitals, particularly the beginning of Central State Hospital. The Report of the Commissioners is rich with statistical facts and features about causes of insanity (mental illness), occupations in the industry, nativity of inmates, and other facts that offer a picture of mental illness in Indiana in the early 19th century. For example, in 1853, religious excitement and anxieties and constitutional (a person’s physical make up) were among the top probable causes of insanity. Other statistical tables include the number of patients admitted and released, marital status, diseases, patients’ ages, and more. These and other facts can provide clues and details into the history of Central State Hospital and its role in Indiana over the years. It also gives us an insight into how mental illnesses were viewed at that time. Later reports contain statistical information, but are not as detailed as the early reports. The reports can be found in the Indiana Collection, I 362.2 IC, for the years 1845-1990.
Friday Facts Editorial Team:
The latest unemployment rate indicates that the economy is improving, but there are still many Hoosier families that need assistance with the basic necessities. The Indiana State Department of Health’s Indiana Family Helpline was created in 1988 as a statewide information and referral program through the State Department of Health’s Maternal and Child Health Division. The Indiana Family Helpline provides Indiana families with a link to a network of services within their local communities, state agencies, organizations, and from individuals providing health care and other services. The Helpline also offers information on resources such as clothing, food, housing, job training, GED obtainment, emergency shelter, substance abuse programs, and more. For more information, including hours and phone numbers, visit the Indiana Family Helpline’s website.
Every February we are bombarded with images of hearts – pink ones, red ones, those made out of crepe paper, and those made out of candy. However, it’s also a great time to think about that other heart – the one beating in your chest. In order to draw more attention to that important organ, February has been declared American Heart Month. According to the CDC, one in three deaths in the United States is related to heart disease, making it the leading cause of death here.
There are two really neat government campaigns to get the word out on heart disease. The first is The Heart Truth. This program has been going on for ten years and is dedicated to women’s heart health. Their signature activity is the Red Dress Collection Fashion Show. They also sponsor the Heart Truth Road Show, which provides free heart risk factor screenings, as well as the First Ladies Red Dress Collection. Another neat initiative is Million Hearts, which was launched just this last September. The goal of this program is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next five years. This is a collaboration between federal agencies, nonprofits, health systems, and the private sector. They focus on educating citizens about prevention and what to do if you’re having a heart attack.
There’s a new, timely challenge from Challenge.gov. Startup America is an initiative designed to get citizens involved in helping the government run more efficiently. The program asks people to “knock down barriers” in clean energy, learning technologies, and healthcare IT. This is a two-fold process, involving both the creation of ideas and the practical know-how to carry them out. Many people have good ideas about how the government can work more efficiently. However, this does not mean that they necessarily have the time or know-how to develop policy, an essential component to getting things done at the national level. As part of this challenge, the White House and Cabinet Secretaries have posted problems that they want solved. Those who have ideas on how to fix these can post them on the Startup America website. These ideas will then be made available to student groups and other interested parties across the country, who will develop and write detailed policy on how to carry these out. The winning plan will then be shared with the relevant Cabinet Secretary. This challenge started back in December, but goes until May. Winners will be announced in July.
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