I'm looking for information on people who were unable to work because of schizophrenia or other major mental illness. Does anyone know what happened to them in the USSR?

  • 1
    If they could not work, they would not work...
    – Anixx
    Dec 12, 2015 at 6:41
  • Like one flew over the cuckoos nest, only more so!
    – Ne Mo
    Dec 12, 2015 at 11:49
  • 1
    Hospitalized. What is the question?
    – Greg
    Dec 12, 2015 at 17:45
  • Well I guess I'm looking to compare the hospitalization in the USSR and USA. We have a lot of information on how awful the hospitals were in the US, but I haven't been able to find anything about USSR.
    – Zhelana
    Dec 12, 2015 at 22:39
  • 5
    They worked, but always two jobs. Dec 14, 2015 at 10:35

1 Answer 1


People who were declared handicapped because of some medical condition received some pension (material help from the state) and other benefits. There were several categories depending on severity of handicap. Those who could and wanted to work also worked. There were co-operatives of handicapped people who could do certain simple kinds of work.

This applied to all sort of illness, including mental illness, including schizophrenia. Those who were considered dangerous were confined to mental hospitals.

Source: I knew several of such people. They were not permanently confined in asylums, just hospitalized for short time of treatment.

EDIT. Another aspect of this matter is that some normal people who criticized the regime were declared insane and confined in mental hospitals against their will. But this is another matter, probably not related to the question. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg13217951.100-soviet-union-admits-to-abuses-of-psychiatry/

  • 1
    Do you know anything of life in the mental hospitals? What kinds of treatment did they try? Or was it just "lock them up and forget them" ?
    – Zhelana
    Dec 13, 2015 at 3:46
  • 2
    I don't know about the life in mental hospitals. But I know that one common treatment was shock therapy (using insulin). People with this decease whom I knew were not treated in hospitals; they lived at home and just visited hospital for the treatment.
    – Alex
    Dec 13, 2015 at 6:15

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