Ghana Medical Journal

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Community mental health care

Akwasi Osei


Worldwide, mental health care has gone through foureras and four revolutions: The era of the Dark Ages of superstition when mental illnesses were thought to be an affliction of the spiritual world. This was the era of the papal-sponsored 1487 publication ‘Malleus Maleficarum’
(‘Hammer of Witches’) during the period of the Inquisition, which allowed the burning of suspected witches among whom were persons with mental illness. This era ended with the revolution that led to the unchaining and moral treatment offered by Pinel in 1793. The
second revolution was the era of scientific understanding of the mind, demonstrated by the studies and theories of Sigmund Freud (1856 to 1939) and other collaborators, through to the invention of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the year 1938, by Cerletti and Bini.
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