Mental Health Timeline (Mia)

Model Congress Project 2016 2017



5 B.C.E

Hippocrates thought that the mentally ill were actually ill in the mind. He focused on changing patients’ occupations or environments and gave them medicines in order to become better, unlike those throughout time who lined mental illness with religious punishments.

Dorothea Dix


Dorothea Dix lobbied for better living conditions for the mentally ill after seeing how patients were living in horrible conditions in jails and other facilities.

Dorothea Dix and Congress


Congress established the first Government Hospital for the Insane in DC, today is known as St. Elizabeth's Hospital

St. Elizabeth's Hospital


The hospital is officially open

Mental Health America (MHA)


Mental Health America (MHA) was founded by Clifford Beers in order to improve the lives and states of the mentally ill in the United States through research and lobbying



Dr. Walter Freeman and colleagues performed the first lobotomy; by the 1950’s 50,000 lobotomies were performed in the US.

Electroshock Therapy


Italian neurologist Ugo Cerletti introduced/used electroshock therapy for patients her suffered with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

National Mental Health Act


President Harry Truman signed the National Mental Health Act in order to start/accelerate research in neuropsychiatric problem.



Thorazine - a drug used to treat certain mental/mood disorders, and used for many other problems - was the first antipsychotic drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration; quickly became popular in asylums.

Enrollment in Mental Institutions


more than 560,000 people are enrolled in mental institutions.

The Mental Retardation and Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act


This act was passed by JFK in order to promote community-based mental health care and treatment facilities, instead of institutionalization. Between the Vietnam war and the bad economy, this was not properly funded. This was really when mental health gained national attention and gained attention in general.

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill


“National Alliance for the Mentally Ill was founded in 1979 to provide ‘support, education, advocacy, and research services for people with serious psychiatric illnesses’”

Mental Health Systems Act


President Jimmy Carter signs the Mental Health Systems Acts, which was meant to better the community - based mental health center program and improve services for the mentally ill

Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act


President Ronald Reagan passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act which repeals Carter's act. This ends the federal government’s role in providing services for the mentally ill. Money towards mental health is decreased by 30%.



An antipsychotic drug meant to cure schizophrenia - is passed by the FDA

New Freedom Commission on Mental Health


Established by George W. Bush, this was meant to eliminate inequality amongst the mentally ill

Mental Health Parity Act


Mental Health America along with other mental health advocates got the Mental Health America signed into law
"The Mental Health Parity describes the equal treatment of mental health conditions and substance use disorders in insurance plans."