On this day in 1926 the News Letter reported that the report of the Belfast Mental Hospital for the year 1925 had been published.
Mr N C Patrick, the Ministry of Health’s inspector, reported that the high standard of the institution which had been favourably reported on in previous years had been fully maintained.
The report provided an interesting insight into the state of the city’s mental health.
The report had shown that the average daily numbers resident were 515 males and 534 females – a total of 1,049.
At the end of the year there were 519 males and 518 females – a total of 1,037.
The number of admissions was 219, as compared with 232 in the previous year.
The male admissions had increased by 11 and the female admissions had decreased by 24.
The average age for admission was 38 years for males and 39 for females.
The most prevalent form of mental disorder was melancholia which “claimed” 28.3 patients.
Among these cases there were many of an acute type admitted during the year, including 35 patients who had attempted suicide prior to admission.
It was noted in the report: “The accommodation provided for the patients has not been: adequate to meet the requirements of the constantly increasing population within the county borough boundary, and there is a need for additional villas. Since the issue of the last annual report, the number of patients transferred from Belfast workhouse has increased. The committee will, therefore, be compelled to erect more buildings.”
The general health of the patients and staff had been “on the whole satisfactory”, remarked the report, apart from a severe outbreak of typhoid fever in February, April and June 1926.
Ten patients had suffered and one female patient and one member of the female nursing staff had died.
The source of infection had been attributed to the domestic water at Purdysburn House.