Mysteries of Mental Illness

The Rise and Fall of the Asylum

Season 2021  Episode 3

Mass confinement in mental asylums and extreme treatments – from lobotomy to coma therapy – were standard treatment for mental illness in the United States until a few decades ago. Today, one of the largest de-facto mental health facility in the United States is Cook County Jail in Chicago, where more than one third of inmates have a mental health diagnosis.

As Sheriff Tom Dart attempts to tackle this crisis head-on through a range of mental health treatments and programs, we’ll meet the detainees whose lives hang in the balance and discover the harsh realities of care both in and out of jail.