Brief History of Mental Health

A view of the evolution mental illness treatments and biases from 600 BC to the 18th century. This timeline depicts the roots in which modern mental illness stigma developed.

0500 BC-04-12 01:22:10


Hippocrates approached mental health in a way that was separate from religion.

0500-01-01 14:10:06

Middle Ages

During this time, religious superstition dominated the world of interpreting mental health.

0600 BC-01-01 14:08:07

Religion and Superstition

Many people believed that mental illness was a form of religious punishment or demonic possession.

1200-08-18 14:10:06

Purges, Bloodletting and Whipping

Treatments were designed to purge the body of demons or excess humors (yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood).

1203-10-01 14:10:06

Barthomoleus Angelicus

A Franciscan monk who created an encyclopedia titled De Proprietatibis Rerum.

1235-10-12 14:10:06

Arnaldus de Villanova

Promoted trephining, the practice of drilling holes into the skull in order to let out blood, as a form of treatment.

1500-01-05 00:00:00

Witches, Madhouses, and Medicine

Mental illness was perceived in a less religious light and was subject to secular superstition.

1600-10-07 14:10:06


Madhouses and institutions became a more prominent approach to treatment of mental health issues.

Brief History of Mental Health

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