U.S. National Institutes of Health

Exhibition Collection


Over the past 200 years, physicians, advocates, and government agencies have all shaped mental health policies. These stakeholders have often taken different approaches and a tension has existed between care and custody as responses to people with mental health conditions. As you explore this history, consider these different responses and the ways in which people have struggled to create a more inclusive society.

Portrait of a white woman.
Painting of a building.
Painting of a crowd, mostly standing, looking at a man breaking chains from the wrist of a seated figure on the ground.
Illustration of a woman being carried by two men onto a train to the left. On the right is a large crowd.
A woman sits in a rocking chair.
A man in distress in a hot bathtub.
Groups of African Americans sitting at several tables
Men standing on a street holding signs.
Several women standing in a room.
Portrait of a white man.
Several white men and one woman standing behind another man at a desk signing a paper.
An African American man sitting on a bench outside.
A white man at a podium giving a speech.
A page of text.
A Native American man escaping a building from a window.
Portrait of a white woman.
Two men injured lie on the ground while others surround them. One man standing in front holds a gun and looks on to the right.
A man and woman stand speaking to one another outside a prison cell.
Infographic with two female icons, small and large, and two male icons, small and large surrounded by text.
Two African American men lying in a room with the word “Recovery” on the wall.
Portrait of an African American man.
Text surrounded by the tops of heads.
Two police officers looking at a person on the left whose hand sticks out from behind a wall.
A page of text from a book.
A woman holding a hand–made sign.