Newspapers and printed images

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The depiction of mental illness in the press has always been highly selective.  On the plus side were public relations pieces about public asylums in the local or regional press of the nineteenth century, emphasising the good work they did for sufferers and their range of engagements with the wider community.  On the negative side most coverage of madness failed to discuss the causes, cures or possibilities of treatment for the condition, and reports were shaped by factors including the location of the incident of madness, and the social status and sex of those involved. The mental problems of the lower orders featured prominently, those of the upper classes hardly at all.  Even in recent years, when knowledge about the reality and prevalence of mental disorder is increasingly widespread, the tabloid press in particular focuses on individual cases, principally of psychotic illness involving violence or personal tragedy.

Image of the week: Anorexia Nervosa. By William Withey Gull, M.D., published in Transactions of the Clinical Society of London (1873).
Full Bibliographic Record: Wellcome Library Catalogue L0073689
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

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