20 February 2019

21st February 1892 - Harry Stack Sullivan was born

 On 21st February 1892 Harry Stack Sullivan was born

Sullivan is known as a founder of the interpersonal theory of psychiatry. He considered the important effect of interpersonal relationships, society and culture on the development of one's personality, and any psychological issues. He spent a lot of his time as a psychoanalyst investigating how his clients interacted with others as part of his psychoanalytic therapy. His clinical work included 'a social milieu therapy for the treatment of schizophrenia.'

There is a book 'Harry Stack Sullivan: Interpersonal Theory and Psychotherapy' by F. Barton Evans III that tries to get the modern reader interested in Harry. 'A complex and at times personally difficult man, Sullivan's very important contribution to psychoanalysis, psychology, and social science has not so far received the attention it deserves.'

Harry said 'It is easier to act yourself into a new way of feeling than to feel yourself into a new way of acting'.

Thankyou to Today in the History of Psychology for the date.

20th February 1901 - Land Prices Force Asylum out of town

There is an article in the Aberdeen Press and Journal on Wednesday 20th February 1901 that described the need for a new Asylum for Edingburgh as required by law. The local board said it was a huge undertaking as the rules stipulated that there should be a minimum of 1/2 an acre per patient, and that to allow growth they would look for 3/4 acre per patient which meant 750 acres for 1000 patients.

The prospect of getting land at a moderate price seemed very difficult until Bangour came on the market, 13 miles outside Edinburgh. They purchased 922 acres for £21,455. Some argued that land should have been bought nearer Edinburgh but the local board had decided that would have raised the cost enormously and would have come to several hundred pounds.

Edinburgh District Asylum was built as a series of villas each holding about 30 patients, and started taking patients in 1904.

Thankyou to the British Newspaper Archive for the article. There is more about what then became known as Bangour Village Hospital in wikipedia.

19 February 2019

19th February 1868 - Advert asking for Votes for admission to Asylum

An interesting advert appeared on page 2 of The Brighton Guardian on 19th February 1868.

A number of notable gentlemen recommend that Charles Frederick Christian, aged eight years, be elected as a student at The Asylum, Earlswood, Redhill, Surrey. The Father, a Widower, has no other resources than that resulting from his occupation of Drapers Assistant.

From what I can gather from a detailed history of Earlswood found at Lost_Hospitals_of_London 'Admission was by the payment of fees or by election, whereby candidates supplied details of their condition and circumstances and were voted for by subscribers. Each subscriber had a number of votes commensurate with the amount of his subscription - one vote for each half guinea (52p).'

Earlswood was a forward looking institution where young people with learning disabilities were given an education or training in line with their abilities. They were treated as students rather than patients and charitable people sponsored places there. Charles Frederick Christian could have done much worse.

In days to come Queen Victoria would give the institution a Royal Charter and it would be renamed as The Royal Earlswood.

Thankyou to the British Newspaper Archive for this date.

18 February 2019

18th February 2015 - Mind Museum Public Opening

On 18th February 2015 there was an interview on BBC Radio 4 about the public opening of the Museum of the Mind in the grounds of Bethlem Hospital. You can still listen here (about 10 minutes into programme).... BBC Programme

The Official Opening by Grayson Perry was in March, a little after the press and public opening. Grayson said "... The work the gallery and museum do is of vital importance and will create a legacy for the understanding of mental health for years to come. For me art is obsession, voyage of discovery and therapy all rolled into one...."

The museum has a history of mental healthcare and treatment brightened up by art exhibitions related to mental health. On display is a wooden alms box where visitors who came to look round Bedlam could donate money towards the hospital. The interviewer suggests this was gawping but the curator added that the hospital was a charity back then, and it was a way to raise money. There is a display showing the changing ways that patients have been diagnosed and labelled and treated and portrayed over time.

Then to brighten it up are art works from past and present. There are works for instance by Richard Dadd, a well known artist, who murdered his father and was at Bethlem before moving on to Broadmoor. The first temporary exhibition on opening was 'Bryan Charnley: The Art of Schizophrenia.' Bryan lived with Schizophrenia and sometimes stopped his medication to explore the unmedicated experience in his art. More about Bryan can be at Bryan Charnley

The museum went on to be one of five finalists for the Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2016. More about the museum is on their website Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Thanks go to Andrew Roberts' Mental Health History Timeline for the date.

17 February 2019

17th February 1864 - The Early Days of Broadmoor

On 17th February 1864, male criminals from Bethlehem Hospital in London were transferred to the newly built asylum at Broadmoor.

The Home Secretary was responsible for criminal and dangerous lunatics, and so a state institution was built at Broadmoor in 1863 - reporting directly to the Home Office. This was unlike other asylums that counties and boroughs were obliged by law to provide for their local population.

Broadmoor was built on a hill with views across the Berkshire heathland. It was quite isolated from local habitation, so local people should not be too worried about escapees.

It started off as a fine Victorian building, and conditions appear to have been superior at first to those at Bethlehem Hospital.

Thankyou to today in psychology history for the date.

16 February 2019

16th February 1922 - Ex servicemen in Asylums

Wikipedia says 'The Ministry of Pensions was created in 1916 to handle the payment of war pensions to former members of the Armed Forces and their dependants.'

On 16th February 1922 the matter of pensions to ex-service men with Mental Health problems was discussed in parliament.

The Minister of Pensions, Mr MacPherson said 'service patients' are received by special arrangement in asylums as private patients, and the average weekly cost of a 'service patient' is 36s. 9d.

He could not say by how much that differed from pauper patients but said money was there so 'he shall not feel that he is treated as a pauper patient but as a private patient.'

Asked about officers he said 'the average payment in respect of officers in asylums is 89s. 10d. a week.'

Elsewhere there was the notion of 'pensionitis.' A Dr Culpin considered this same matter in 1921 and concluded 'So far as a pension removes the need to work it will be harmful.'

That same year, 1922, The Southborough Report ( set up by the War Office Committee) concluded that regular units with high morale did not suffer shell-shock.

Thankyou to Hansard on 16th February for some information and Mental Health Timeline for the date.

Meanwhile, today. 16th Feb 2019 the BBC has a report 'Military charities say they are not coping with the increased demand for mental health support.... The Ministry of Defence spends £22 million pounds a year on mental health for veterans, while the NHS has dedicated around £6m annually since 2016.'

15 February 2019

15th February 1856 Emil Kraepelin was born

On 15th February 1856 Emil Kraepelin was born. Kraepelin is considered by some as the founder of modern psychiatry and psychopharmacology, although he remains relatively unknown to the general public. He devised an early classification for mental health issues, including new terms such as manic-depressive and dementia praecox (later to be reclassified as schizophrenia).

He spent his career teaching psychiatry and treating patients at universities and hospitals in Germany. Kraepelin rejected the theories of Sigmund Freud which he felt focused too much on early sexual experiences and too little on biology.

He was a founder of psychopharmacology, the study of the effects of psychiatric drugs on the nervous system - Kraepelin called it ‘pharmacopsychology.’ He also campaigned for the prohibition of alcohol and asylum reform.

Kraepelin developed a classification system for mental illness that influenced subsequent classifications. Throughout his career, he continued to refine his classification and was working on the ninth edition of his textbook when he died. Kraepelin’s most important innovation was examining and recording mental health issues in a large number of patients over many years, including collecting case histories from other experts.

More on Emil Kraepelin on wikipedia. Thanks to wiki_February_15 for the date.