Too often medical treatment for mental illness requires a middle man, the judicial or court system. I can still remember the rattling of keys, closing and opening of bars, police officers with guns on hips, and going before the judge when we sought treatment for our then 16 year old daughter. Treating severe mental illness requires placement in a facility. The court is to ensure that the individual's personal liberty is not violated and to protect the public.
In June 1913, a hearing before the Chancery Court was held for cousin Lena Mae Durr to determine if she was insane by six citizens of Hazlehurst, Copiah County, MS. It was determined that she was insane and she was to be placed in one of the State Lunatic Asylums but because no beds were available she was to be placed in the local Poor House.
Here is a description of the place Lena Mae was sent.
From The American Poor-farm and Its Inmates, by Harry C. Evans
Lena Mae had a short stay. She was ordered to the Poor House on the 21 day of June 1913. She died 27 Sept 1913 of pellagra which is a vitamin deficiency disease most commonly caused by a chronic lack of niacin in the diet. A few of the symptoms of pellagra are: insomnia, mental confusion, diarrhea, red skin lesions, and eventually dementia. In affluent societies, a majority of patients with clinical pellagra are poor, homeless, alcohol-dependent, or psychiatric patients who refuse food.
Lena Mae was buried on the Poor Farm.