Mental: A History of the Mad House

This documentary tells the fascinating and poignant story of the closure of Britain’s mental asylums. In the post-war period, 150,000 people were hidden away in 120 of these vast Victorian institutions all across the country.

Today, most mental patients, or service users as they are now called, live out in the community and the asylums have all but disappeared. Through powerful testimonies from patients, nurses and doctors, the film explores this seismic revolution and what it tells us about society’s changing attitudes to mental illness over the last sixty years.

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  • Gabriel

    This documentary is mad!

  • Ronan

    Quality documentary on an interesting subject!

  • Ronan

    Quality documentary on an interesting subject!

  • Anonymous

    As the virtual prisoner of a ‘service abuser’ I’d say, bring the contained institutions back rather than turn entire regions into nuthouses by the infiltration of medicalized zombies.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t it schizoid? On the one hand there’s a glamorising documentary on the glowing merits of top nuerosurgeon, Henry Thomas Marsh (chief psycho driller at Atkinson Morley) to rounds of public applause and on the other we see the realities of what the maniacs have done (and continue to do) with unwitting human lab rats and call it barbaric. Yes, it is, bloody barbaric. Some of the methods such as heated curling tongs directly onto brain defy language as to response.

  • Bear

    as someone who suffers from depression,extreme anxiety, and panic attacks to name just a few symptoms of a condition that can be isolating and bring negative attention with good old stereo-typing even in our generation , the idea that a person in my situation would be subjected to such barbaric torture under the rouse of cure is frightening.To remove and burn away parts of the brain often leaving patients disabled , a mental age of a child or new and shocking behavours and neurological problems , leaves me sickened in knowing that these dangerous experiments were allowed to continue long enough to effect hundreds of thousands of people in western society.Patients in the asylums then with no say over there treatment isnt that different to modern soley mental health hospitals were patients have no say over mediation and will be physically forced to swallow tablets or be held down 4 injectios, unfortunately although there has been great progress in this are there is still a stigma that means even medical staff now working in these seperate hospitals view the patients as 2nd rate , they r very rarely given the care and compassion of a normal nhs patient,and still today the idea of sedating patients so staff can have quiet shift still happens much more frequently then the public would like to think.In an area that as made many positive strides away from those dark days of abuse and in most cases what is tantamount to false imprisonment , it would be an outrage to see Britain slowly meandering back down the path that took decades to abolish.Whilst officially all our equal and guidelines are set out it seems that the stigma around mental health sufferers is alive and well leaving society believing that a patient of this type is a danger to public,Mental illness covers a wide range of conditions not just that of a murdering phyco-path, only when the stigma dies will the care of these patients improve as nurses support workers also have an inbuilt opinion on this issue the same opinion there mum had and her mother had.Labotomys may have passed discrimination hasnt.WE ALL NEED TO THINK ABOUT OUR ATTITUDES ONLY THIS WILL TRULY MAKE US ALL EQUAL. MENTAL ILLNESS DOESNT MEAN UR A SERIAL KILLER, IT COULD B SEVERE DEPRESSION, POST-TRUMATIC STRESS, PERSONALITY DISORDER – ITS NOT A FAST TRACK TO CRIMINALITY.
    1 in 3 AT SOME POINT WILL SUFFER FROM SOME TYPE OF MENTAL ILLNESS , JUST CHANGING A PERSONS PERCEPTION COULD MEAN SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU COULD GET THE CARE AND SUPPORT THEY NEED WITHOUT FEELING LIKE A LEPER.
    HELP MODERN WORLD REMEMBER WHO GETS LEFT BEHIND BY MISCONCEPTIONS.       

    • Jessica

      Asylums were never about the patient,  they were places to isolate and experiment on patients who couldn’t fight back.  Once a therapy was tested enough it could go mainstream.  Much like modern medicine experimenting on animals and then the first 10 year out in a combination of clinical trials and the first several years in circulation.  We haven’t really come THAT far.  Back then the effects were immediately obvious whereas now they are less obvious but still very much there

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  • zipzip

    i am a bipolar fifteen year old, and i lived in a physciatric hospital for a few months. i am unutterably glad that i wasn’t born even ten years before i actually was..

  • zipzip

    i am a bipolar fifteen year old, and i lived in a physciatric hospital for a few months. i am unutterably glad that i wasn’t born even ten years before i actually was..

  • Dave

    Bloody hell… Fascinating, but at times incredibly hard to watch, the operations are unbelievable… to think they so deeply believed themselves to be doing right…

  • Dave

    Bloody hell… Fascinating, but at times incredibly hard to watch, the operations are unbelievable… to think they so deeply believed themselves to be doing right…

  • Dave

    Bloody hell… Fascinating, but at times incredibly hard to watch, the operations are unbelievable… to think they so deeply believed themselves to be doing right…

  • Felicia

    They should have shown the negative effects of closing the institutions for the severely disturbed patients who make up the majority of homeless people in cities. Sure closing them was fine for someone with panic attacks but for someone with schizophrenia or who suffers from psychotic episodes turning them out of a place where they get food, shelter and basic hygiene taken care of is terrible. In Canada after the institutions were shut down the government said that the money saved in those costs would go to special community living arrangements, which didn’t happen. Then that plan was downsized to ‘they can come and get their daily pill at this designated clinic’… if someone can’t tell reality from what their mind is projecting how will they remember where and when to get their pill?! 
    If they wanted to do a well rounded and informed documentary show all the facts. 

    http://miaw.ca/en/mental-illness/what-is-mental-illness/homelessness.aspx 

    http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Health/20110308/homeless-patients-costs-110308/

  • http://thebibleandthenews.com/ beauregard

    The narrator’s soothing voice makes this disturbing doc easier to watch. I like that useful contrast.

    The asylums needed reform and supervision, not abolition. The more severe patients need close boundaries, schedules, and something constructive to do, which asylums can provide; the less severe need to be groomed and watched over in family settings. Few mental patients would fail to fit into one or the other of these two settings. Many very sick people remain unsupervised and uncared for in the ‘community’ model that has failed so badly. Some of these afflicted people can be seen roaming around in Red Deer, where I live, but more notoriously on 17th avenue in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, about two hours south of here. And some of these poor souls are homeless, semi-zombies who are addicted to either street drugs or the legal kind, and they can get dangerous without warning.

    Asylums, carefully monitored reformed ones, are greatly needed. This measure would probably cost us less than what is being done now, for right now government checks are being given to these roaming, mixed up people, who seem, for the most part, unable to spend that money to any good end.    

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  • http://www.urugula.net philFRMN

    ————————-//.link is dead
    here is a new one

    www youtube com/watch?v=b8tCnqoNkuQ

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  • Robert

    I’ll let you know after I’ve seen it.

  • Robert

    What is with your Divx player? It will not work with this file???