Most people when they take a glimpse into the world of exploring seem to always start with Denbigh! I suppose its probably because of its architectural style and the high profile ghost stuff that has been televised and spread all over the internet for some years.
Our history in regards to the “care” of people with mental health issues, historically is dark than any ghost, spirit or apparition.
Before the 1800’s private arrangements were made for the mentally ill,
In the 1800′s the County Asylums Act and the Lunacy Acts meant that the mentally ill and the criminally insane were incarcerated in county asylums but prior to the laws (which came in together) the building of such institutions was incredibly slow and many ill people were still in prisons, under vagrancy laws and in workhouses.
By the 1880’s, County asylums were networked together and most county’s had an asylum. Records and admissions were becoming commonplace in the late 1800’s and until the making of the NHS it was how and where the mentally ill were treated.
People remained in asylums albeit the names of the institutions changed over the years, as did the medical practices and the use of drugs. As psychiatry/psychology and social care have evolved so has the “care” and by the 1980-90’s the shift of care being given in the community led to the closures of any existing mental health institutions.
This particular place wound down in 2005 but I believe it shut its doors as a mental health institution in 2009 officially.
There is some more in depth information regarding asylums and their place in history here…. http://thetimechamber.co.uk/beta/sites/asylums/asylum-history/the-history-of-the-asylum