From radical brain surgery, to drug therapy and meditation, Iowa veterans have done it all while coping with mental illness in the aftermath of war. Treatments have come a long way since lobotomies were performed on World War II vets in Knoxville.
It was 150 years ago this week when the “Iowa Lunatic Asylum” opened in Mount Pleasant and the state’s first mental health patient was admitted. Just about everything has changed since then, but a series of old television documentaries reveals a glimpse of the dark days of mental health care in Iowa, including frightening treatments now abandoned. Original WOI-TV documentary was filmed in 1952.