‘Caring for people’ or caring about people?

Historians may find it easier than clinicians or scientists to write compassionately about sufferers from mental problems, especially as they are writing about those who are long dead. Unhindered by the detached conventions of medical scholarship, historians can mediate the voice of the mad in the past by bringing alive the experience of suffering through the vivid personal detail of contemporary autobiography.  Understanding the history of psychiatry can help to preserve a sense of perspective, humanity, and humility, by setting out just how unusual and diverse the past is and how people coped with mental ailments under very different material, social, and cultural circumstances.

Image of the week: Mental Aftercare Association poster, 1889
Full Bibliographic Record: Wellcome Library Catalogue L0031850
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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