31 January 2019

31st January 1923 - The Maudsley opened


On 31st January 1923 The London County Council Mental Hospital called The Maudsley opened.

The British Journal of Nursing, 27.1.1923, said on page 60 "The Maudsley which will be opened by the L.C.C. on January 31, is the first municipal institution for early treatment of lunacy and scientific research into causes of insanity.".

Work towards the hospital started in February 1908, when the psychiatrist Dr. Henry Maudsley gave £30,000 towards the cost of establishing a specialist hospital for early treatment of mental illness. He wanted it to include Out-patients and facilities for teaching and research. L.C.C paid the other half of the cost.

Various legal and logistics difficulties needed to be overcome before building began. Then it was requisitioned to be used in the First World War and then afterwards in the treatment of former soldiers.

The Maudsley Hospital finally opened on 31st January 1923 (Dr Henry Maudsley had died in 1918, leaving a further bequest to the hospital).

A bronze bust of Maudsley overlooks the main staircase at the Institute of Psychiatry next to the Maudsley Hospital.

In 2000, Bethlem Hospital and Maudsley Hospital became part of the newly formed South London and Maudsley NHS Trust (SLaM).

Thankyou to The British Journal of Nursing for the date, and to Lost Hospitals of London for some of the details

30 January 2019

30th January 1968 - Drop Out published


The first edition of Drop Out by Robin Farquharson was published in 1968.  In the preface (dated 30th January 1968), Farquharson wrote "I am a manic-depressive. When I'm up, I have no judgement, but fantastic drive; when I'm down, I have judgement, but no drive at all. In between I pass for normal well enough."

Before becoming a self-diagnosed manic-depressive, Robin had a high flying academic background, and as a doctoral thesis wrote 'Theory of Voting.' The work was of such a high quality that it was later published as a book. However Farquharson did appear to suffer delusions and when he was being considered for a fellowship of All Souls he rang the Warden to say he had a message from God.

Farquharson heard no more about the Fellowship.

Drop-out was his 'liberation from the fetters of convention.' The book is scribbled on notes in all-night launderettes and against lamp-posts.

At aged 37, he was older than the average hippy but did join in with their lifestyle in part, but it sounds like he could have become quite a handful.

He even tried to live without money, and tore a £126 cheque into shreds and took every coin from his pockets, 8s 7d, and threw them on the pavement. 'Free! Free! Free!' he exulted.

He lived in squats, with friends, and on the streets. There is more about him in wikipedia. Robin Farquharson - Wikipedia

He died as the result of a fire in the house he was living. Two workers who lived there were found guilty of 'unlawful killing.'

29 January 2019

29th January 1820 - King George III died

On 29th January 1820 King George III died. After suffering intermittent bouts of acute mental illness, he was confined at Windsor from December 1811 for the last decade of his life. In the end he was blind, deaf, and suffered dementia. His illness may have been caused by porphyria, an inherited metabolic disorder, though nobody knows for sure. Other causes such as arsenic poisening, and mania, have been suggested.

He was England’s longest-ruling monarch before Queen Victoria . During his 59-year reign, he pushed through a British victory in the Seven Years’ War, led England’s successful resistance to Napoleon, and presided over the loss of the American Revolution.

Date from January 29 - Wikipedia

28 January 2019

28th January 1567 - First Mental Hospital in the Americas


On 28th January 1567 the First Mental Hospital in the Americas was founded.

Archbishop Montúfar had ordered the construction of a hospital next to the hermitage of San Hipólito. Building began on the 2nd November 1566, and The Hospital y Aliso de Convalescietes de San Hipolito was formally inaugurated by Bernardino Alvarez in Mexico City on January 28th, 1567. It is thought to be the first in the Americas dedicated to serving patients with psychological problems. The hospital had rooms for the mentally ill, elderly priests and the poor. It was administered by the Mexican religious order known as the Brothers of Charity, who collected alms on the streets to maintain the hospital.

Through time the hospital has been transformed and changed function many times and now San Hipólito Hospital is a general medical facility. Thankyou to Today in the History of Psychology for the date. More about Bernardino Alvarez at ca.wikipedia.org .

27 January 2019

27th January1982 - Rosalynn Carter gets mental health award

On January 27th 1982 The American Psychological Association presented Rosalynn Carter an award in recognition of her public leadership and service for improved mental health services. Rosalynn was instrumental in convening the Presidential Commission on Mental Health during Jimmy Carter's presidency.

That commission can be read about in President Carter's memoirs. He recalls "I have seen my wife and dedicated professionals and volunteers work on improving the mental health status in Georgia while I was Governor." And now she was following the same cause at the national level.

Rosalynn said her aims were "For every person who needs mental health care to be able to receive it close to his home, and to remove the stigma from mental health care so people will be free to talk about it and seek help. It's been taboo for so long to admit you had a mental health problem."

The commission brought together many experts who produced a report within a year that influenced policy. President Carter said the report's emphasis is "on how we can coordinate delivery of existing programs better."

The Mental Health System Bill was enacted in 1980.

Read more about Rosalynn on wikipedia. Thankyou to Today in Psychology History for the date

26 January 2019

26th January 1891 - Wilder Penfield was born.

On 26th January 1891 — Wilder Penfield was born.

Penfield was a neurosurgeon who carried out surgical studies of epilepsy. Through the administration of local anesthetic, the surgeon removed part of the skull to expose brain tissue and, by the use of probes, the conscious patient described to the surgeon his/her feelings so that the surgeon could identify the location that evoked seizure activity. Then the surgeon would remove the brain tissue in this location to try to remove the epilepsy.

As a side effect of these operations, Penfield was able to identify various brain centers and to create maps of the sensory and motor cortices of the brain. He also discovered that electrical stimulation of portions of the cortex could evoke vivid experiences of events.

In 1954, Penfield published with Herbert Jasper one of the greatest classics in neurology, Epilepsy and the Functional Anatomy of the Human Brain.

Thankyou to Today in Psychology History for the date.

25 January 2019

25th January 1759 - Rabbie Burns' Blue Devils


Robert Burns was born on 25th January 1759,and Burns Night is celebrated on his birthday. He is one of Scotland’s most important literary figures.

There is a blog set up by a University of Glasgow research project, studying Robert Burns, and the impact of mental health on his life, called bluedevilism.wordpress.com.

Apparently, both his depressed and elevated moods had an impact on his life and his creativity.

Sometimes we see Burns in particularly dark places.

'I have, all this winter, been plagued with low spirits & blue devils, so that I have almost hung my harp on the willow-trees.'
(To James Johnson, February 1794)

At other times, he proudly declares his brilliance in language that captures high spirits:

'By all probability I shall soon be the tenth Worthy, and the eighth Wise Man, of the world.'
(To Gavin Hamilton, 7th December 1786)

Thankyou to wikipedia for the date.

24 January 2019

24th January 1995 - Better Care in the Community


On 24th January 1995 Tessa Jowell, helped present a petition of 100,472 signatures supporting better Community Care (Rights to Mental Health Services).

Later on that same day she presented to parliament the Community Care (Rights to Mental Health Services) Bill.

As part of her speech she said "...There is now unquestioned and universal agreement about what makes care in the community work - agreement that was validated by research in the mid-1960s, and confirmed by numerous studies since then, and by the experience of mentally ill people themselves during the past 30 years. The essential elements of community care are stable accommodation, the support of a named key worker, day care and access to crisis services that are available 24 hours a day and not as, unfortunately, is still too often the case - only from 9 to 5. Shamefully, whether a person secures the services that he needs, when he needs them and for as long as he needs them, still depends on a geographical lottery. The level, range and quality of provision varies enormously from one district to another. Eligibility varies. Is it any wonder that mentally ill people desperate for help just get lost, sometimes with tragic consequences?"

Tessa Jowell was again in the news on 24th January 2018. 'Tessa Jowell has called for patients to be able to trial more experimental cancer treatments on the NHS as she spoke about being diagnosed with a brain tumour...'

Thankyou to Mental Health History Timeline for the date.

23 January 2019

23rd January 1934 - First Induced Seizure

Ladislas Meduna first used camphor injections to induce a seizure in a mental hospital patient. Meduna observed that epileptic seizures tended to reduce schizophrenic symptoms in patients and sought to induce seizures for their potential therapeutic effect.

In his autobiography, quoted in wikipedia, he recalls he began his treatment on 23rd January, 1934 on a severe 33-year-old catatonic patient. After just 5 treatments, catatonia was abolished and the patient sent home.

A major factor in Meduna's success was his selection of patients. Nine of the first eleven patients were in a catatonic (non responsive) state. Catatonia is apparently responsive to induced seizures.

Meduna's methods led to Cerletti and Bini's later use of electricity as a means of inducing therapeutic seizures.

Thankyou to Today in Psychology History for the date.


22 January 2019

22nd January 2008 - Breaking glass ceilings in mental health


On 22nd January 2008, Kjell Magne Bondevik of Norway spoke to the UK members of parliament about his experience of depression. This was the launch of Stand to Reason's campaign "Breaking glass ceilings in mental health".

Kjell was the Norwegian prime minister when he was brought low by depression. He said, "It happened one Sunday in August 1998. I was not able to get out of my bed. I did not have any energy left in me. I stand here today because I became more aware and had a strong experience that day. I hit the wall. That did something to me - as a human being and as a politician. The three weeks that followed were the worst in my life. But I am not sure still whether I would like to be without those three weeks."

He could not undertake his duties and the instinct of those around him was to hush it up. But Kjell decided on a press release telling the Norwegian people of his mental health problems. He recovered and was back at work in a few weeks. He went on to be re-elected and proved that people who have experienced mental health problems can recover and manage a challenging job.

Jeremy Paxman, who interviewed him, wrote in the BBC Newsnight blog on 22 January 2008. 'I know we’re supposed not to be partisan, or to pass judgement on those we interview. But I have to say that of all the many politicians it has been my (occasionally painful) duty to interview over the years, Mr Bondevik comes pretty near the top.'

Thankyou to Mental Health History Timeline for the date. Read more about Kjell Magne Bondevik on wikipedia.

21 January 2019

21st January 1885 - psychopath first appeared in print

21st January 1885 - On this day, the term psychopath first appeared in print in its modern meaning in an article in the Pall Mall Gazette.

Reporting on the trial of a Russian woman in a child murder case, the Gazette points to the testimony of M. Balinsky who informed the jury that the accused was suffering from 'psychopathy'.

The article explains this new malady as described by Balinsky ... 'an individual whose every moral faculty appears to be in the normal equilibrium. He thinks logically, he distinguishes good from evil, and he acts according to reason. But of all moral notions he is entirely devoid. Beside his own person and his own interests, nothing is sacred to the psychopath.'

Thankyou to On This Day in Psychology by David Webb (an Ebook from Amazon) for the date. The quote is from The British Newspaper Archive.

20 January 2019

20th January 1843 - Daniel M'Naghton shot Edmund Drummond

On 20th January 1843 a Scottish Woodturner named Daniel M'Naghton shot Edmund Drummond, private secretary to Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, thinking Drummond was Peel. M'Naghton was later acquitted of murder because it was judged that his mental condition rendered him incapable of judging right from wrong. He had declared that he fired the shot but said 'I was driven to desperation by persecution'. The verdict in M'Naghten's trial provoked an outcry in the press and Parliament. Queen Victoria, who had been the target of assassination attempts, wrote to the prime minister expressing her concern at the verdict.

Chief Justice Tindal delivered a final answer to such concerns to the House of Lords on 19 June 1843. The answer to one of the questions became enshrined in law as the M'Naghten Rules and stated: To establish a defence on the ground of insanity it must be clearly proved, that, at the time of committing the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know that what he was doing was wrong.

It has also been argued that poor medical treatment of hastily extracting the bullet, leeches, and bleeding killed Edmund Drummond.

M'Naghten lived out his days in Bethlem and the newly built Broadmoor hospital.

Wikipedia Daniel M'Naghten - Wikipedia has more details. Thankyou to today in psychology history for the date.

19 January 2019

19th January 1973 - Being Sane in Insane Places

On 19th January 1973 - David Rosenhan's article On Being Sane in Insane Places was published in the journal Science.

Psychologist, Rosenheim, and six other volunteers, claimed to have heard voices and after admittance to a mental hospital behaved normally and said .they no longer heard voices. It took between 7 to 52 days for them to be allowed out. Rosenheim claimed that the staff could not tell normal from abnormal behaviour, and would label normal behaviour such as writing behaviour as a sign of the condition. Also Rosenheim noted that staff spent very little time with patients.

This study  followed  criticisms of psychiatry by R. D. Laing and others, and became part of the anti-psychiatry movement and was often cited in introductory psychology books.

The hospitals complained that anybody could claim symptoms in any medical field to fool doctors, and challenged Rosenheim to do the study again. They would detect the imposters. In a second study Rosenheim sent no volunteers but the hospitals detected patients they thought were imposters.

The study highlighted not only the difficulty in the diagnosis of psychiatric conditions, but also how psychiatric labels once applied could become self-fulfilling.

Thankyou to Today in Psychology History for the date, and for two blogs On the Rosenheim Experiment and On Being Sane in Insane Places for more details.

18 January 2019

18th January 1919 - Prince John dies from epilepsy

 On 18th January 1919, King George V and Queen Mary lost their beloved youngest son, Prince John, at the age of thirteen. Newspapers reported that he 'passed away in his sleep, following an attack of epilepsy, at Sandringham.'  There followed a month of mourning, and fourteen days half mourning. As a result of his delicate health John had been unable to attend many public functions and was cared for at Sandringham.

He became the subject of a film in 2003, The Lost Prince. The Internet Biography on Wikipedia suggests that he had learning difficulties.

Thankyou to Mental Health History Timeline for the date. A search on https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ gave details of the cause of death and public mourning.

17 January 2019

17th January 1853 - Buckingham Asylum opened


Buckingham County Pauper Lunatic Asylum opened for the reception of patients on 17th January 1853.

Over time there were name changes as old terms fell out of favour. Pauper was dropped in 1893, lunatic in 1915. It became the Buckingham Mental Hospital in 1919, and the St John's Hospital, Stone after the foundation of the NHS in 1948.

St John’s Hospital was closed in 1991 by Oxford and Trent Regional Health Authority. Most of the buildings were demolished and a private housing estate developed on the site. Only the chapel and a few staff houses remain.

Thankyou for the date to the book Buckinghamshire County Pauper Lunatic Asylum - St. John's by John Crammer. Available on Amazon and elsewhere. Some details came from the link https://www.countyasylums.co.uk/st-johns-stone/.

16 January 2019

16th January 1956 - Riots and Overcrowding in Mental Hospitals

On 16th January 1956 there were 2 newspaper reports about Mental Hospitals: one of rioting, one of overcrowding.

In one report firemen turned hoses on 8 mental patients who barricaded themselves in and began throwing furniture and crockery at members of the hospital staff. The incident happened at Lennox Castle Institution, Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire. Afterwards, the patients were sedated, and a public enquiry ordered.

At the enquiry it was reported that a fight took place over a personal matter between two patients in a dormitory, and other patients took sides. Many windows were broken. The group of 25 patients were transferred to another unit. Then eight of the patients, still excited, started to break windows in the new unit. The report decided 'the cause of the incidents was the mental condition of the patients concerned and that the patients were not suffering from any particular grievance.' People living near the hospital were reported as being worried by the lack of supervision.

In the same paper is a report of the visit of  Mr. Denis Howell, M.P to Shelton Mental Hospital, Shrewsbury, after complaints he had received. He said that conditions there, especially for the staff, appalled him.

On a second visit a year later, reported on 16th January 1957, Mr Howell again commented on overcrowding at the hospital. The hospital spokesman said '£12,000 had been spent in the past year on improving conditions. The buildings, however, would never be perfect because they were built to house 500 patients, not 1,000'. The spokesman added 'I do not like the problem of mental hospitals being turned into a stamping ground for politics.'

Thankyou to British Newspaper Archive on 16th January 1956
and British Newspaper Archive on 16th January 1957 for these articles.

15 January 2019

15th January 1842 - Josef Breuer was born

On 15th January 1842, Josef Breuer was born.  He was a successful physician and expert in neurophysiology who lived and worked in Vienna and contributed to the emergence of Psychoanalysis.

He recognised that people suffering hysteria (with symptoms like paralyses and tremors) had a real psychological condition and were not malingering. With the patient 'Anna O' he developed a talking cure. Through hypnosis and free association, forgotten remnants from the past were uncovered and the patient brought to an emotional catharsis. He theorised that a build-up of suppressed emotions and psychic traumas could be discovered and resolved by talking. Josef Breuer told Sigmund Freud about Anna O and together they published Studies on Hysteria. His protege Freud  would firmly establish Psychoanalysis, the talking cure, as a treatment for psychologically based conditions.

Thankyou to Jan 15th on Wikipedia for this date.

14 January 2019

14th January 2015 - Long hours and alcohol


On 14th January 2015 a study reviewing data from over 300,000 people found that those working more than 48 hours are more likely to drink at dangerous levels. It is the same for a fast food worker as for a banker. Alcohol is used to unwind.

One report of this research can be found in Time Magazine.

Date found by google news search by date range.

13 January 2019

13th January 1993 - Physical causes of schizophrenia


In his book The politics of schizophrenia David Hill argued that schizophrenia does not exist and is a construct used to control those who are victims of our modern society.

On 13th January 1993 Marjorie Wallace, of SANE, wrote a response to such ideas in The Independent ...

 "David Hill's views on schizophrenia are contradicted by studies from the World Health Organisation and other professional agencies which show that schizophrenia is a problem that affects all races and social classes. There is growing evidence that it involves a biochemical imbalance in the brain and is not simply used as a label to cover those who are socially disadvantaged ..."

Thankyou to Mental Health Timeline for this date.

12 January 2019

12th January 1843 - outrage on humanity

The Lord Chancellor of Ireland could hardly believe that such an outrage on humanity could have been perpetrated at that time - on 12th January 1843.

The outrage was on a gentleman from a highly respectable family who had, through no fault of his own, become afflicted by mental illness. His brother had put him into the care of somebody without taking the trouble to visit and find how he was being treated. The patient was found later in Cork by two magistrates who took pity on him.

He was ... in an out-house belonging to the man with whom had been placed, and from the state of the roof there was access for the weather and the rain; and, though it was in the latter part of the year, he was stark naked, and his legs chained and clenched together, and fastened in chain not more than two feet in length, without even straw, and not able, on account of his chains, to lie down in such way to rest himself, and without power to move beyond the limit of the narrow circle which the chain would allow.

They took him to a place where he had some comfort and was not in chains. The matter was then raised through the law to get his family to provide better care for him since they had means.

The Lord Chancellor was outraged and took on the case himself because he believed others could be suffering similar conditions.

Thankyou to the British Newspaper Archive for this date.

11 January 2019

11th January 2005 - Race equality in mental health care

On 11th January 2005 the report 'Delivering race equality in mental health care' was published. It put in place measures to try and ensure equality of access, equality of experience, and equality of outcome in mental health care.

The report included a government response to the death of David Bennett, a 38-year-old African-Caribbean patient. He died on 30th October 1998 in a medium secure psychiatric unit in Norwich after face-down restraint by staff for around 25 minutes.

More recently,  the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report into Mental Health Services for 2016/17 says "People from a Black background are more than twice as likely to live in poverty than those from a white background. Black children are more than twice as likely to grow up in a lone parent family. Black and Mixed ethnic boys are more likely than White boys to be permanently excluded from school and to be arrested as a teenager" and "disproportionate number of people from certain ethnic backgrounds, in particular Black people, are detained under the Mental Health Act". 

This recent CQC report does not say whether equality in care has been achieved. But it does show inequality before care is not there.

Thankyou to Mental Health History Timeline for the date.

10 January 2019

10th January 1977 - Ramones Mental Health Ode

10th January 1977, the Ramones' album Leave Home was released. On it was the sing along ode Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment

I was feeling sick, losing my mind
Heard about these treatments by a good friend of mine
He was always happy, smile on his face
He said he had a great time at the place ...

Gimme-gimme shock treatment
Gimme-gimme shock treatment
Gimme-gimme shock treatment
I wanna-wanna shock treatment ..


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a procedure where a seizure is triggered by an electric shock. In its early days ECT was given without general anesthesia for unshakeable depression and other conditions. Nowadays full general anesthesia and muscle relaxation is given. It was reported in 2017 that ECT is on the rise again in England.

Thankyou to Mental Health History Timeline for the date. Here is the song on Youtube ...

09 January 2019

9th Januray 1919 - Death of V.A.D Nurse


On this day 100 years ago.

In the Leeds Mercury of the 9th January 1919 there is the report of the tragic death of  Miss Mary Boshill, aged 22, a V.A.D (Voluntary Aid Detachment) nurse.

It was reported at the inquest that her fiancee was killed at the front. She became a V.A.D. nurse and returned to England, suffering from shell shock and internal strain, a doctor stating that she had worked herself to death on the battlefield. While working in Belgium she had been advised by a doctor to inject herself with morphia to keep herself going as she was suffering severe abdominal pains. She also had been taking Veronal ( the first commercially available barbiturate) out there, and since returning home. The jury decided that she had died from Veronal poisoning. 

Wikipedia says of Veronal, prolonged usage resulted in tolerance, requiring higher doses. Fatal overdoses were not uncommon. 

08 January 2019

8th January 1902 - Carl Rogers Born

Carl Rogers was one of the important names in Psychotherapy and influential in developing the Humanistic movement.

In January 1951 Carl Rogers's book Client-Centered Therapy was published. The book described the philosophy and practice of nondirective psychotherapy.

Carl Rogers proposed that therapy could be simpler, warmer and more optimistic than that carried out by behavioural or psychodynamic therapists. He believed that therapists should be warm, genuine and understanding. One major difference between humanistic and other therapists is that they refer to those in therapy as 'clients', not 'patients'.

Clients are seen as having an innate tendency to develop towards their full potential and therapy allows them the chance to find their way beyond distorting or blocking life experiences.

Thankyou to On This Day in Psychology by David Webb (an Ebook from Amazon) for the date.

07 January 2019

7th January 2009 - Mental Health Care Changes


From 7th January 2009 Radio 4 started five weekly programme called State of Mind. In it Claudia Hammond explored how the treatment and understanding of mental illness had changed over the past 50 years, with the help of Radio 4 listeners who responded to an appeal for testimonies.

One example from programme 1 was Moyna who attended Netherne Hospital, Surrey, on and off from 1960 until March 1995 when Netherne Hospital closed. She then was looked after in a smaller unit as part of "Care in the Community" . She says "Instead of the enormous Hospital we would all be in community homes and group homes. The acutely ill would go into Capel Ward at the East Surrey Hospital... I feel that Care in Community really works for me." She had a far richer life after 1995 with more activities and independence.

She begins however ... "I first went to Netherne Hospital on 1st May 1960. I was sixteen at the time, going on seventeen. I had left school less than two years before, at the age of fifteen. I found it difficult to keep my jobs. I had had jobs but I soon lost. Someone suggested to my parents that some psychiatric treatment might be of help to me. 

 First I saw Dr Freudenberg as an out-patient of Redhill General. Then after that I was admitted to Netherne. 

 First I was on the ward in the Main Building, afterwards known as Clive but then known as F6. It was usually known as Sixes. It was the Female Admission. My Mum and Dad brought me in. I was got into my nightclothes and put into bed, although it was only eleven-o'clock in the morning. Then Mum and Dad came and said good-bye to me. After this I was examined by a young doctor, Dr Galway. After this a ward-orderly brought me some lunch. There were about forty or fifty women on this ward. It was strange for me to be alone among all these strange people, as I had never really been away from home before ... "

The 5 programmes are available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00gd5ws/episodes/player . Thankyou the BBC for this date.

06 January 2019

6th January 1412 - Joan of Arc was born

On 6th January 1412, Joan of Arc was born.

Joan said she received visions instructing her to support Charles VII and recover France from English domination late in the Hundred Years' War.

On 23rd May 1430, she was captured at Compiègne and handed over to the English and put on trial, declared guilty, and burned at the stake on 30th May 1431, age 19.

In 1456, a court authorized by Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, debunked the charges against her, pronounced her innocent, and declared her a martyr.

At her trial she said "I was thirteen when I heard a Voice from God for my help and guidance. The first time that I heard this Voice, I was very much frightened; it was mid-day, in the summer, in my father's garden. I had not fasted the day before. I heard this Voice to my right, towards the Church; rarely do I hear it without its being accompanied also by a light. This light comes from the same side as the Voice. Generally it is a great light. Since I came into France I have often heard this Voice. …"

Thankyou to Wikipdedia January_6 and wikiquotes for the quote.

05 January 2019

5th January 1959 - Harlow's Surrogate Mothers

5th January 1959 — Harry Harlow's article "The Nature of Love" was published in the American Psychologist.

Harlow took eight newborn rhesus macaque monkeys, and gave them each a choice. Alone in their cages with them were two surrogate mothers. There was the cloth mother and the wire mother. In four of the cages, the wire mother held the food bottle; in the other four, the cloth mother.

If infant love is based on food production, Harlow reasoned, the babies should prefer whichever mother held the bottle. They did not. The baby monkeys overwhelmingly preferred the cloth mother with whom they could have comfort contact.

Thankyou to On This Day in Psychology by David Webb (an Ebook from Amazon) for the date.

04 January 2019

4th January 2018 - Pregnancy and Mental Health


On 4th January 2018 A new King's College London study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found that 1 in 4 pregnant women could have mental health problems.

Using a diagnostic gold standard interview across 545 pregnant women, they found the following occurrence:
11% depression
15% anxiety
2% eating disorders
2% OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder
1% PTSD
less commonly, bipolar disorder and other disorders.

Given that the outcome for mother and child and family as a whole is important, diagnosing any problem early was thought important. It was further found that two simple questions, asked by midwifes, could help identify these problems early.

The news story was carried by The Independent and various other newspapers found thanks to Google News.

03 January 2019

3rd January 1964 - The Three Christs of Ypsilanti


On 3rd January 1964 Milton Rokeach's book The Three Christs of Ypsilanti was published.

In 1959, at Ypsilanti Hospital in Michigan, psychologist Milton Rokeach forced three patients to live together. Each was suffering from the delusion that they were Jesus Christ. Rokeach's idea was that when the patients were confronted with each other they could be cured. Rokeach also sent them letters that confronted their delusions. The book details their interactions with each other and with Rokeach and other patients. The three were quite different, and argued a lot at first, but by the end got along by not raising the subject of who was Christ. After the two years of the study their delusions had not significantly changed.

Leon is the youngest Christ, and in one extract Rokeach writes

11:47am Leon overhears two aides discussing paranoid schizophrenia. One says that it is a reaction to homosexuality and, furthermore, that everyone has some degree of paranoia. As soon as they leave, "Leon says to me: 'I disagree, sir. There are people who aren't insane, and I'm one of them. People who generalize are mentally ill.'

 The book was made into a film in 2017.

Thankyou to http://todayinpsychologyhistory.pbworks.com for the date.

02 January 2019

2nd January 1957 - 1st British Mental Illness TV programme (reviews)


Reading the television section in newspapers on 2nd January 1957 readers would have seen reviews of the first part of a six part series called The Hurt Mind. It was the first British television series about mental illness and the first episode was called "Put Away", and was aired on 1st January. This was in the days before most people had a Television Receiver.

Much of the series came from inside Warlingham Park Hospital, in Surrey, and showed Christopher Mayhew, the interviewer. The cameras were not allowed to show patients' faces - they were only shown from the neck down.

 The review in the Liverpool Echo is typical in its praise, and the hope the series would help break down barriers, "It is right that we should know of the existence of such places. But it should be remembered that this series must have as its objective the breaking down of the barriers of misunderstanding surrounding the problem. Its aim must not be to scare viewers away from the subject. I have nothing but praise for Mavhew's handling of the interviews in last night's programme."

 Interviews included:

  • Gerald describing how the war drove him to alcoholism
  • Sidney describing how he became "persecuted by a wizard"
  • Mary, a teacher, telling of her "irrational fears" and how her parents found it "difficult to understand".

Thankyou to https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk for the date and TV reviews, and Mental Health History Timeline for the descriptions of some of the patients shown. The 4th programme in the series can still be viewed on youtube.

01 January 2019

1st January 1796 - York Retreat founded


1st January 1796 — The first executive committee meeting of The Retreat, at York, England, was held. Founded by William Tuke, it was opened to patients in 1796. The Retreat was one of the first institutions to provide humane treatment for people with mental illness, and was run by the Quakers. It led the way in the England for better mental health care.

The hospital, is still run by a charitable organisation, and on 1st January 2019 closed inpatient and residential services. There were increasing problems with government funding, and as a listed building the hospital found it difficult to adapt to modern standards.

The Retreat will continue to run outpatient services at the Tuke Centre, including autism, ADHD ,community psychological assessment and therapy services. But on January 1st 2019 its learning disabilities residential service were moved to Mencap, and services for eating disorders and complex trauma services were transferred to the German originated Schoen Clinic. Other inpatient services ended.

(The mural above was created in 2014 and displayed in the central corridor at The Retreat)

Thankyou to http://todayinpsychologyhistory.pbworks.com for the date, and The Yorkshire Post for the update about recent developments.