Exhibit Debuts at SAMHSA
recently hosted the debut of a traveling exhibition,
The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State
In 1995, during the closure of the Willard Psychiatric
Center in New York’s Finger Lakes region, several
hundred suitcases filled with the personal belongings
of former patients were discovered in the hospital attic.
The suitcases and their contents bear witness to the
rich, complex lives these people led before they were
hospitalized at Willard.
“We bring you this exhibit as a part of SAMHSA’s
designating 2006 as the ‘Year of the Consumer,’
” said A. Kathryn Power, M.Ed., Director of SAMHSA’s
Center for Mental Health Services. “Our intent
is to raise awareness of the critical importance of consumers
and families being at the center of their own personal
mental health care. Unfortunately, as this new exhibit
shows, that has not always been the case.”
The exhibit was created by the Community Consortium,
an organization of people with psychiatric histories
and their allies, to honor the memories of these people
and others like them who were removed from their communities
and institutionalized in the early to mid-20th century.
The exhibit is circulated by The Exhibition Alliance
of Hamilton, New York.
For more information on the exhibition, visit www.suitcaseexhibit.org.
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