Utah State Hospital
|Utah State Hospital|
|Utah Department of Human Services|
|Location||Provo, Utah, United States|
|Hospital type||Mental hospital|
|Lists||Hospitals in the United States|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (October 2009)|
The Utah State Hospital began as the Territorial Insane Asylum in 1885 at Provo, Utah, with the purpose of housing and treating those considered to be mentally ill and attempting to return them to normal levels of functioning. The site chosen in Provo was eight blocks from the nearest residence and was separated from the city by swampland and the city dump.
Today the Utah State Hospital provides 324 beds for Utah's mentally ill persons who require treatment in a more structured setting and are assessed to be unable to receive adequate treatment at regional centers. Treatment is provided to patients ranging from age six years to geriatric age. Specialized programs are offered for children, adolescents, forensic and adult residents.
Starting October 1971 the Utah State Hospital started a "spook alley" titled the Haunted Castle, due to the stone structured amphitheater located behind the hospital in which the attraction was assembled. The Haunted Castle started off as a "closed" Halloween celebration event developed by the patients, but success with the activity eventually caused it to grow to a more public performance. The attraction was operated in a joint effort by patients and staff. Patient participation was a privilege and based on individual patient behavior and only those determined to be a minimal risk to themselves or others were allowed access to the public. Additionally many patients not able to interact with the public were allowed to help with construction/deconstruction of the facilities used for the spook alley. The Utah State Hospital used popularity from the event help raise public awareness of mental illness. All proceeds from the Haunted Castle went into the Utah State Hospital's recreational therapy program to subsidize improved activities that directly benefited the patients.
October 1997 was the final production put on by the State Hospital. The activity was permanently closed in an act of "Political Correctness" largely due to efforts by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) who objected to the activity because they felt it served to stereotype the patients by linking mental illness with monsters and violence in the public's mind. Several doctors, therapists, and patients at the hospital cited that the activity produced therapeutic results unachievable elsewhere which should be taken into account, but the Utah State Legislature determined that NAMI's objections were warranted.