Nursing in Montana: Institutional and Organizational Changes, 1961 - 1976
The nineteen hundreds saw American institutions as custodial centers whose goals were to keep the patient safe, guard him, and manage him as he was incapable of managing himself. The early institutions stripped the client of his rights, choices, and ability to think for himself, forcing the patient to be completely reliant on the institution, and rendering him even further incapable of assuming responsibility for functioning. Growing numbers of individuals were institutionalized and often times the government subsidized or completely financed the cost of this custodial system. The institutionalized included mentally retarded individuals along with the mentally ill. World War II brought increased interest in the care of the mentally ill and psychiatric care methods. In 1946 the National Mental Health Act was passed into law initiating the development of patient treatment and providing funds for expansion, improvement and initiation of educational programs for mental health professionals. This program began the awakening process. That forced the country and the health care delivery system to evaluate and initiate steps that would update the care of the mentally ill.