New Book Reveals Decades of Asylum History

St. Petersburg, Fla. (PRWEB) May 14, 2012

Could the downfall of mental health care in America be caused by the same psychological stigma given to the mentally ill patients? A lack of openness about their history and daily business continues.

A misguided sense of shame, combined with political control and conflicts, has kept decades of asylum history under wraps, until Alma Wynelle Deese discovered boxes full of historical documents at the Eastern State Hospital, what once was Kentuckys first asylum and the second state-supported asylum to be established in the U.S.

In Kentuckys First Asylum (published by AuthorHouse), Deese explores past and current issues facing Americans mental health system by dissecting the inner workings of the Eastern Kentucky Asylum. Using historical data, Deese presents a fictionalized narrative to explore this institutions history from 1817 to the 1990s including a chapter dedicated to 1906, a pivotal year for Eastern Kentucky Asylum. That year, four employees were charged in the murder of a patient, along with the politics of the time.

In my book, I give an accurate account of real people and real events that happened at Eastern Kentucky Asylum, which was heavily supported by the early community, Deese says. Now, our local mental health systems are controlled by unnecessary confidentiality to hide all activities. While confidentiality is important for patient names, other actions that conduct business and effect employees should be open to public scrutiny. In the past, politicians controlled the money and employees, today, confidentiality, keeps the public from knowing. Valid histories of any such processes are needed and Ive accomplished this with documented sources.

Kentuckys First Asylum provides a historical understanding of one early asylum that eventually became a state hospital and serves to give broader context for the understanding of the current mental health system. It provides a platform to better comprehend the problems and process of American psychiatric care.

Kentuckys First Asylum: A Saga of the People and Practices

By: Alma Wynelle Deese

ISBN: 978-1-4620-7303-0

Paperback: $ 26.95

Available at

About the author

Alma Wynelle Deese graduated from Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky, and the University of Mississippi Graduate School. She worked as a psychologist at several institutions, including Eastern State Hospital for 34 years. Deese is the author of several other books. Retired, she now lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, after being a resident of Kentucky.

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EDITORS: For review copies or interview requests, contact:

Jennifer Regnier, Publicist

317-602-7137 | jregnier(at)ohlsengroup(dot)com

(When requesting a review copy, please provide a street address.)

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