Describing and identifying mental problems

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This week’s podcast explores the ways in which mental illness has been identified and described. The popular, vernacular, or ‘street’ vocabulary of mental dysfunction has always been remarkably rich, perhaps more so than the technical one prior to the twentieth century, including some words and phrases we may still recognize today.

Once you have listened to the podcast, you might also like to listen to this brief clip from Fry’s English Delight, in which Stephen Fry uses his own experience of mental ill health to consider the ever-changing way in which what’s commonly called madness is talked and written about:

Bonkers! The words of madness we use every day 

(First broadcast on Fry’s English Delight, 26 February 2017)

Image of the week: Two photographs of an idiot, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, c. 1895

Full Bibliographic Record: Wellcome Library Catalogue L0067002
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

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