Iran’s first museum of psychiatry to open in Tehran

September 30, 2020 - 18:52

TEHRAN – The first museum of psychiatry in the country will be officially inaugurated in Tehran’s Roozbeh Hospital next week.

Sources say that the museum will be the first of its kind in the country and the fifth in the world, noting such museums have been already established in Spain, Germany, Belgium, and Denmark.

The museum is projected to showcase the historical course of psychiatry knowledge and mental patients, according to organizers. It is also aimed to turn the spotlight on the history of mental illness during the history as well as prominent Iranian physicians; the dark ages of psychiatry when patients were awfully treated in the course of history; and the advent of a psychiatric hospital during the Qajar era (1789 to 1925).

Other themes include the establishment of the first asylum in the Iranian calendar year 1329 (March 1950-1951) that later turned to the Roozbeh Hospital; the relationship between art and psychiatry, which shows the cinema works associated with psychiatry; psychiatry in Iran and its relationships with the world; the creation of specialized tendencies to poetry, children and adolescents and writers.

History of psychiatry in Iran

The history of psychiatry in Iran, according to Cambridge University, is as old as the history of medicine. In the middle ages, when in the West people with a mental illness were typically punished and tortured as witches or were looked upon as being possessed, the main approach to their care in the Islamic world, including Iran, generally involved kindness and some form of counseling, combined with herbal, aroma and music therapy and custody in special asylums.

Rhazes (Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi, 865–925) and Avicenna (Abu Ali Ibn Sina, 980–1037), two great Iranian physicians and philosophers, in their writings described such mental disorders as melancholia, mania, and delirious states. They also prescribed psychotherapy for their patients and described the effects of emotions on the cardiovascular system.

Modern psychiatry in Iran begins with the foundation of Tehran University in 1934. In 1937 the department of psychiatry at the medical school began teaching students. The first teachers at the department were mainly French-educated, among them the late Professor

Abdolhossein Mirsepassi and Hossein Rezai were pioneers of psychiatry in Iran. There had been some asylums for the custody of psychiatric patients since the 19th century in Tehran and other major cities of Iran. Roozbeh Hospital was founded in 1946 as the first modern psychiatric teaching hospital in Iran. This hospital has since trained many generations of psychiatrists and still is the leading center in psychiatric education, treatment, and research.