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physical diseases to which many of them were subject, there have been but twenty-one deaths, or a little less than five per cent.
We consider it no longer necessary to prove the importance and necessity of this institution to the State, nor its utility to those who are afflicted with this severest of human sufferings. Great numbers of the insane may be restored to their reason and their friends, by a timely application of the facilities for curative treatment at the Asylum. The prospect is truly cheering to the friends of humanity, that suitable provision is made for the restoration of the insane poor, before they have passed into an incurable state, wretched in themselves, and a source of inconceivable anxiety, as well as of great expense, to their friends and the community.
The provision made for the insane poor at the last session of the Legislature, is a most benevolent and salutary provision for those who suffer the double affliction of poverty and insanity. It is believed that it will be adequate to give a fair trial to every recent case that may be offered for admission. If the insane are placed at the Asylum as soon as they are attacked with the disorder, many will be restored in three months, thereby making room for others to take their places. When we consider the large proportion of recent cases that recover, and the joy experienced by an unfortunate family, by having one of its afflicted members restored to usefulness, what an amount of happiness is produced by this noble provision ?
It is much to be regretted, however, that, according to the present statute, a more direct application to the Commissioners cannot be made, as soon as a person becomes insane.The longer the time between the attack of insanity and the placing the patient in an asylum, the longer will be the time required for restoration, and the less will be the chance of cure. Besides, the affliction and expense of the friends continually increase while the patient remains with them. If an indigent person becomes insane in February or March, for instance, he must wait a whole year, according to the present statute, before he can partake of the benefit of the appropriation. During this time he may have lost the only favorable season for recovery, and have passed into an incurable state. In the month of last February an indigent person and head of a family became insane. His friends, supposing it to be too late to apply to the Coinmissioners for a share in the appropriation made by the State, sent him to the Asylum at their own expense. Before the Commissioners met in May, the patient was restored to his afflicted family, enjoying the blesings of health and reason, and capable of performing the relative duties of domestic and social life. Had his friends anxiously waited until “the first of February” of the following year, he might have passed into a state of hopeless insanity. We would, therefore, most respectfully invite the attention of the Legislature to this subject, trusting they will so amend this part of the statute, that those who are afflicted with this severe malady may receive the first practicable relief.
In noticing the results of the last year, we find that one hundred and ninety-six have partaken of the benefits of the institution. There were ninety-five patients at the commence. ment of the year, and one hundred and one have been admitted. Eighty-three have been discharged, leaving one hundred and thirteen patients now in the Asylum. Of those who have been discharged, forty-nine have recovered, twenty-eight have not recovered, and six have died.
We would again allude to what has so often been urgedthe necessity of placing the insane in an asylum soon after the attack. By the report of the physician it will be seen, that nearly nine-tenths of the recent cases have recovered, while less than one-third of the old cases have been restored. Those, therefore, who are interested for the insane, should be aware of the importance of placing them under proper curative treatment in the first stages of their disorder. Every moment's delay increases the difficulty of restoration, and the expense is also greatly increased, as old cases require much longer time for their recovery. .
* The Trustees have attended to that part of their duty which requires an examination into the direction and supervision of the Asylum, and the treatment of the patients. We are happy to state, that there has been manifest, in every part, a degree of neatness and comfort, and an efficiency, mildness, and good order, which were worthy of all commendation.The Asylum has been so generously aided by the public, through its Legislature, that the whole people have a right to know how its affairs have been managed. The solicitude and anxiety of those who place their dearest relatives in this institution, can be borne only by the strongest confidence in
the benevolence and humanity of those to whom they are entrusted.
We know that there are some who still retain their notions of an asylum from the opinions they had formed from the description of mad houses of the last century. Until within a few years, most of the asylums for the insane were merely places of safe-keeping of the patients. The unfortunate inmates were too often consigned to a living tomb, from which it was difficult to escape, until death, like a welcome messenger, removed them from their wretched existence. Could we witness no other management in the lunatic asylums of the present day, we would not have intruded the claims of this institution upon the attention of the Legislature. We are not ignorant that baseless suspicions and unfounded jealousies have always existed, to a greater or less extent, against institutions of this character. Those who have any doubts, we would invite to visit the Asylum, when they have opportunity, and we are confident that all their doubts will be removed.
Improvements are constantly making on the farm, which, in a few years, will be in a high state of cultivation. A greater amount of produce is every year realized, which greatly tends to lessen the expenses of the Asylum. But its chief advantage is, its beneficial effects on the patients. Exercise in the open air has always been conducive to their improvement and restoration. The best exercise for most of our male patients is, useful labor on the farm, which affords them pleasant employment, improves their health, and accelerates their recovery.
In conclusion, we would bear cheerful testimony to the prudent and faithful manner in which the several officers have performed their arluous and responsible duties; and at the same time we would commend the institution to the fostering care of the Legislature of this State, as worthy of their guardianship and protection.
N. B. WILLISTON.
ABSTRACT Of the general expenditure for the Asylum, for the year ending Sept. 30,
Stores, provisions, &c., i
$6,272 92 Salaries and wages, i
3,146 30 Medical supplies, . i
270 13 Improvements and repairs, i . i 1,819 34 Furniture, bedding, &c.; i
924 66 Contingencies,
$12,615 54 Income from board of patients, &c.
12,935 36 WILLIAM H. ROCKWELL, Superintendent. Brattleboro', Oct. 1st, 1842.
The patients have been from the following places:
SIXTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PHYSICIAN
AND SUPERINTENDENT OF THE VERMONT
The number of patients remaining at the close of the year, 95 There have been admitted during the year,
1. 101 Total enjoying the benefits of the Asylum, . 196
There have been discharged during the year,
There remains, Oct. 1st, 1842,
Of the 83 cases discharged, there have been, Recovered,
• • . . Not recovered, . . . . Died, . . . . . .
Of the 39 recent cases discharged, there have
.. Died, .
. . 35
Of the 14 chronic cases discharged, there have
Recovered, of all the cases discharged the past year, 59 per cent.
Recovered, of all the recent cases discharged the past year, 89.74 per cent.