The Merits of Mental Health
The history of mental health care has long been a controversial subject, especially due to its implications with medical experimentation, institutionalization, eugenic sterilization and, more recently, commercialized drug treatments.
Dr. Erika Dyck, Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine, will investigate the historical, medical, and political attitudes towards mental health care in Alberta and Saskatchewan during the 20th century and compare the provinces’ different approaches. Her research aims to illustrate how their competing viewpoints influenced broader health reforms on the prairies.
Dyck will undertake two studies to produce a deeper understanding of Western Canadian medical history and consider how these provincial developments fit into international trends. One study will examine some of the more recent challenges facing patients, medical workers, local residents and policy-makers in the era after the closure of long-stay institutions. The other study will focus on the interplay between political and medical imperatives that influenced the development of mental health systems in Alberta and Saskatchewan amid debates over eugenics and, later, publicly-funded health care.
These studies will draw upon her previous examination of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) experimentation in Saskatchewan psychiatry, which explored some of the ways that medical science is shaped by ideological objectives.