Kirkbride Buildings


Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride’s method of treatment for mental illness was to provide humane treatment for patients on sprawling hospital grounds which would restore sanity to a damaged mind. He also believed that “the number of patients in any situation should never exceed the number (of patients) whom the superintendent could know intimately.” This method of treatment became known as the Kirkbride Plan and the sprawling, hospitals which were erected to bolster this idea have become known as Kirkbride Buildings.
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The Kirkbride Plan

Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride

Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride (1870)

If you ever deign to look up information on old asylums, you’re bound to come across the term “Kirkbride Plan”. The Kirkbride Plan was a way to treat mental illness by providing more humane treatment to patients. This would require a sprawling hospital facility and vast grounds. The idea was that if the insane were in a relaxed environment, away from large populations and problems, that sanity would be restored to those who’d lost it. This idea was nice, but somewhat unrealistic in lieu of more modern knowledge surrounding mental health. The author of the Kirkbride Plan was the influential Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride (or, as I like to call him– “Eyebrow”).
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