Girl Gets Herself Admitted To A Mental Hospital To Uncover The Real Truth.
Many years ago, a young woman spent 10 days locked up in a mental institution. What happened while she was there would ultimately change the lives of many.
The woman was Elizabeth Cochran, who was born in the mid-1800s. She did not like that women would only work at home, never being able to contribute to society, so, at 18, she became a journalist, with the pen name of Nellie Bly.
She would write about women’s issues and rights, something very unusual during that time. She worked for the New York World newspaper and one of her first assignments was to go undercover and write a story about a women’s mental hospital on Blackwell’s Island. So she faked being mentally ill and had herself committed for 10 days, with her attorney to get her out of there when that time had elapsed.
The rumors about the place were nothing compared to what really went on there. There were twice the amount of patients that the hospital had room for. The food served was rotting meat, stale bread and dirty water. And there were rats…. LOTS of rats running throughout the facility.
Many there were not mentally ill… they were poor or could not speak English well. And the ones who WERE sick did NOT receive the care they needed. They were beaten. They were tied up… and they were tortured.
When 10 days were up, Elizabeth’s lawyer got her out of there, and she wrote the highly acclaimed book, “Ten Days in a Madhouse.” Because of this book the government was forced to improve the conditions for all the patients. And Elizabeth continued to write stories focused on women that others wouldn’t dare speak about.
Elizabeth died of a stroke in 1922 at the age of 57, but she changed generations of women by inspiring them to speak up on issues that mattered.