Sunday 22 October 2017

Not a lot of vision or change in our mental health services

Picture posed
Picture posed

Julianne Clarke

In 1919 my great-grandmother Julia died alone and forgotten in the psychiatric hospital in Mullingar, better known locally as 'The Mental'. She was committed by her husband 22 years earlier when she was just 32 years of age, pregnant and protesting her sanity.

Julia was committed on November 13, 1897, because she threw scalding tea in her husband's face after accusing him of "numerous infidelities" – no one believed her. Her hospital records state there was "no foundation" for this accusation. In recent years the truth emerged – Julia was right.

On the morning of August 5, 1898, Julia gave birth to her son Christopher. The baby was taken away shortly afterwards and placed in the Mullingar workhouse. Julia tried to escape twice in these early years and finally resigned herself to living the rest of her life in this institution

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