Story: Women’s health

Mental instability (2nd of 2)

Mental instability

The woman shown here being held by a nurse was an inmate of the Auckland Lunatic Asylum in 1910. She was admitted for three months suffering from ‘puerperal insanity’ (now known as post-partum psychosis). Women were committed to mental health asylums at a rate of about three to every four men committed, and for different reasons. Difficulties in personal relationships, problems related to childbirth or menopause, or behaviour that was considered unfeminine were common reasons. Married and widowed women were more likely to be admitted than single women. Men were more likely to be admitted because of alcoholism; single and widowed men were most likely to be admitted. Once in an asylum, women were more likely to be cured and released, so were less likely to die there.

Using this item

Auckland Regional Office, Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: YCAA 1048 11, p. 357

Permission of Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga (Auckland Regional Office) must be obtained before any re-use of this material.

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How to cite this page:

Megan Cook, 'Women’s health - Pākehā women’s health, 1840s to 1940s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/31474/mental-instability (accessed 20 October 2019)

Story by Megan Cook, published 5 May 2011