Groups protest 'lunatic asylum' name

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West Virginia disability rights groups are fuming after the owners of a pre-Civil War mental hospital in Weston renamed the property the "Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum."

Several mental health organization leaders have fired off letters this week to the contractor who now owns the former Weston Hospital.

They say the new name - which was the name of the hospital in the 19th century - is discriminatory and promotes misunderstandings about mental illness.

"It's very derogatory," said Scott Miller, director of the Mountain State Direct Action Center, a disability rights group. "We don't call people lunatics. Asylum is just not the term anymore."

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