The Period of Persecution:
Earlier. treatment of the inentally sick depended on men's various superstitious beliefs. It was thought that sounds and motions are the factors of illness of health, black spirit or black magic was harmful and white magic and good spirit did not bring illness. Patients with mental illness were thrown out of society and beaten up by the people. During this period no nursing was required as no body was allowed to keep any relationship with these patients. They were tortured and left on their own.
Period of Segregation:
To prevent the mentally ill patients from straying into streets, they were put separately in asylums. In England, these patients were put in the 'Bethlem Asylum' for the first time. Because of its uncontrolled activities and defening noise made by the patients the English word 'Bedlam' was derived for Bethlem.
The Government funded these hospitals but patients did not have adequate conditions to live.
During this period the field of psychiatry had not developed. The aim was to segregate patients from the general public.
During this period more and more asylums were set up. Physicians got interested in working on mental illnesses. In the later part of the century, Phillippe Pinel in France and William Tuke in England opened the chains of mentally ill. More patients were taken care on humanitarian grounds. In 1972, William Tuke founded the York Retreat Hospital in England and provided total care to the patients without restrains or chains. During this period also no mention of nurses was made. In 1773, in the United States mental patients were admitted to Pennsylvania Hospital, but no special training were given to nurses. Nurses with general nursing qualification looked after mentally ill patients.