Asgard insane asylums

Knowledge Level: 
3 - Very common, noble born children are taught this during classes.

The Asgardian insane asylums are the cesspools of Asgardian civilisation. Outside every major city, there are two or three places where Asgard keeps it's lesser inhabitants. These insane asylums are full of Elves and Fae who are deemed unfit to function within Asgardian society, and more specifically within either the class in which they were born, or one of the lower classes. Once patients enter an Asgardian insane asylum, every right they had as a free citizen is halted. The philosophy behind this is that it gives doctors in the Asylum the freedom to discover what methods of treatment best suite the patient.

Treatments

It is a widely held belief that the first step in treating mental insanity in Elves and Fae, is for the patient to fully submit to the instructions of the doctor. Only once the patient has been made willing to accept truth and knowledge is there any chance of recovery. The second stage in this process is for the doctor to burrow deep into the thought processes of the patient, and to replace the irrational and insane thoughts with the same believes, as they are held by the Asgardian culture.

There is a long and complicated process patients have to go through before they will be officially declared sane, and thus are allowed to leave. This involves both written and oral tests and evaluations, which must be performed in accordance to the guidelines for the treatment in the mentally insane, as dictated by the Royal Asgardian Medical Society. These standards are considered to be some of the finest work the RAMS has produced. Because of it, only 14% of the Asgardians to ever enter the insane asylums, are ever declared sane again.

Known symptoms of insanity

Asgard is the only state in Heimr which recognises insanity as a disease that should be treated. There is a large body of work written about the symptoms and causes of insanity by the Royal Asgardian Medial Society. It is estimated that one out of every six Asgardians is legally insane and should therefore be treated within the insane asylums. A lot fewer, perhaps around one out of every eighty Asgardians will at some point in their life be declared insane.

The level of insanity can be measured, by identifying the amount of misbehaviour and subtracting the upper level of appropriate misbehaviour to be expected for a person of that age. There are large tables available for identifying misbehaviour. These include obvious things such as needless theft or violence, illogical compulsive behaviour, deception of ones superiors or peers, or holding and/or expressing dissatisfaction with Asgard, it's culture, it's institutions or perhaps worse of all, expressing negative opinions about one's superiors. Even such things as showing an inability or unwillingness to understand the requirements / necessity of an institution or the emotional needs of a person are considered indications of insanity.

Danger of treatment

The first step of the recovery program, destroying the mental barriers caused by insanity, often involved submitting the patient to extremely uncomfortable situations. By outsiders the practice is often compared to torture. The key difference between the two is that in torture the aim is often to force people to provide information not willingly shared. The first step in the treatment of insanity is aimed specifically to break the mental blockades caused by insanity. Extreme mental stress, rather then physical pain is used to achieve this goal.

This involves exposing patients to things they are fearful of, such as heights, certain animals, Utgardian savages, confined spaces, etc. Another successful method involves putting patients in dangerous situations and forcing them to fend for their lives. This is particularly popular because it also provides the Academy of Thaumatology with live targets for their students, and thus it creates extra funds for the insane asylums.

Many precautions are in place to prevent lethal outcome, but because many treatments are often necessary before the desired effect is achieved, about a third of the patients die during this stage of the treatment. Most Asgardians consider this preferable to living with permanent insanity.

The purpose of asylums within Asgard

The insane asylums are state sponsored institutions, tasked with keeping the mentally insane as far away from Asgardian cultured life as possible. The asylums are kept at a distance from the city, so that civilized life can continue without the constant reminder of this unpleasant side of Asgardian culture.

Because such a large percentage of the Asgardian population is locked away in asylums, most families at some point in time will have to deal with an insane family member. Legally, the head of the family is required to put in a request for evaluation, when they suspect one of their family members to be insane. If they fail to do so and the insanity is discovered through other means the family will be fined for failing to identify a danger within society.

Losing a family member to the asylum is often very difficult for a family to accept. Having an insane family member reflects poorly on the entire family. In order to maintain their position within the Asgardian hierarchy, it is important to keep this information as close to the family as possible. Often families will have their insane members declared dead to prevent a scandal from effecting the family's reputation. Keeping these secrets as tight as possible has made insanity a subject of serious taboo in Asgard. Because there is little to no opportunity to grieve for the loss of a loved one to the asylum, many Elves and Fae find themselves struggling with their own sanity.