Lobotomy, Insulin Coma Therapy, Electroshock & Cardiazol: The Miracle Cures?

By Aggi Yates In 1936, António Egas Moniz proposed the Lobotomy, a form of brain surgery that physicians believed would provide a cure for the baffling condition of schizophrenia. According to a reputable medical journal, The Lancet, a ‘long hollow needle… to which is attached a loop of strong wire’ was inserted into the brain […]

The Idiots, Insane and Mad: How projections of mental illness in Indian lunatic asylums protected British imperialism.

By Shaye Mistry It becomes an almost impossible task to single out how colonial Britain saw mental health in a period of high colonialism. In the contemporary, however,  psychiatric science was by its very nature a by-product of colonialism. In India, traditional methods of healing and dealing with madness were common and available to the […]

The Importance of Teaching Colonial History to Tackle Contemporary Racism

By Rebecca Mason The Holocaust has been remembered in history as one of the most devastating atrocities on behalf of humanity. The large-scale and centrally coordinated genocidal attack on minority groups, mostly constituting of Jews, possesses the largest magnitude of deaths in history. Yet, the many other acts of genocides that were of consistent occurrence […]

Thomas Howard 3rd Earl of Effingham: Yorkshire and the United States

By Thomas W. B. Hill Anyone who has travelled by train from Sheffield to Leeds may have found themselves wondering why the Rotherham United stadium, which is right next to the tracks, is called “New York Stadium” some three thousand miles away from the American city. The story behind that involves the town’s industrial past […]

A Recent History of Institutional Racism in British Mental Health Services

By Sam Gilder “In this country in fifteen or twenty years time the black man will have the whip hand over the white man.” Those were the words of Conservative MP Enoch Powell on 20th April 1968. His ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech contained criticism of the proposed Race Relations bill of the same year, which […]

Shell Shock: The First World War, masculinity and mental health

By Eleanor Stokes The First World War commenced during the summer of 1914 as a result of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Six months into the international conflict the term ‘shell shock’ first appeared in the medical journal The Lancet. Although soldiers themselves had utilized the phrase, Captain Charles Myers of the Royal Army […]

Asylums, Optimism, and Moral Treatment: Was Victorian mental health care as cruel as we believe?

By Kerry Lindeque When we picture Victorian-era asylums and mental illness images of brutal treatment, inadequate living conditions and physical punishment come to mind. But this was not always the case. In the early 1800s, attitude towards care of the mentally ill shifted away from security and containment and towards a system that ‘aimed to […]

Legacies of Mental Suffering: How do the responses to war and the COVID-19 crisis emphasise a critical need for further support?

By Elodie Lunniss Dispirited and down encapsulates how masses of people across the globe are feeling in these distressing times. By the first week of April, over half of the 7.8 billion people that inhabit the earth were under lockdown due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Such an absence of normality and the anxiety surrounding […]

The Great Exhibition: Optimism and Collaboration in the Victorian Era

By Hannah McCann On 1st May 1851, nestled between the elm trees of Hyde Park, a 564 m long and 33 m high glass structure was about to open to the public. This creation (later known as the Crystal Palace) housed something even more astounding than the building itself. Inside the glasshouse was the Great […]

Underdog to African Success Story: Sir Seretse Khama and the birth of modern Botswana

By Kerry Lindeque In 1966, when Botswana asked to be granted independence by the British government they were labelled as “either brave or very foolish”. The British protectorate, known at the time as Bechuanaland, had 12km of paved road, a literacy rate of 25% and was one of the twenty poorest countries in the world. […]