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Therapeutic farms use work in a natural environment to improve mental health.

Did you know that the State of Maryland was actually an innovator in this approach over a century ago?

In the 1970s I spent a summer working with older men at the Springfield State Hospital in Sykesville, MD. Long before Springfield was a mental institution, it was an estate and working farm, originally developed as the dowry for the daughter of a wealthy Baltimorean, William Patterson. His daughter was intended to marry Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, Jerome Bonaparte, although the marriage was later blocked by Napoleon.

In 1896, the State of Maryland transformed Springfield into a mental institution. Springfield was intended as an advance, using a more humane medical model for care instead of the prior practice of housing the "insane" in almshouses and poor farms ...continue reading

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