Mental – Documentaries on the recent histories of English Asylums.
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We’ve wanted to get a better understanding of the development of mental health care in the England. And struggling to read, as always, we turned to seeking out documentaries and came across 4 gems. We say gems, it’s more a damning history of how mental ill people have been treated.
Mental – History of the mad house
Firstly is a recent BBC 4 doc aptly titled ‘Mental – History of the mad house’, which is a bit over the top, but very informative, particularly about High Royds Hospital, in West Yorkshire. We also enjoyed the shocking information that racist dickhead Enoch Powell was one of the first MPs to call for the closing of Asylums and promoted care in the community.
Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
Second, is a more personal and even more shocking film, Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind which has wonderful stories from people imprisoned for decades, often without any sign of mental illness. Including one man John, locked up for 66 years. But it goes onto show the inspiring stories of how people detained for decades went onto live their lives and show solidarity with each other. Interestingly it ends explaining that the 80′s would be the end of mental hospitals. But sadly that didn’t last.
Ray Gosling – Whittingham Hospital Asylum
Also worth watching is Wasted Lives, made in 1972, which is as depressing as it sounds. It features Lucy, who was admit to an Asylum for having a child out of marriage. She was held for 51 years.
We seem to be back on the road to detaining people for long periods of time, sure it’s not Victorian Asylums. It’s just modern day ones.
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