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Mental health and illness

Mental Health and Illness

From Private ‘Madhouses’ to public asylums

Educational Objective

Students will explore the changes in attitude to mental ill health in the 18th and 19th centuries

Classroom Activity

Students should write a press release about William Tuke, Dorothea Dix, or Philippe Pinel. Ask them to research one of these historical figures, and the way that treatment of mental health changed in their lifetime.

Students should consider what attitudes may have been at the time to asylum residents – what would have pleased or concerned them about the ideas and changes made by Tuke / Dix / Pinel?  Set a word limit (100-200 words) and encourage them to pick images form the website to accompany the press release (see creating your own resources for tips on saving images)

Extension Ideas

Students could write a second press release from a different point of view, or in a different style e.g. a release for the tabloid press and another for ‘broadsheets’.

Students could share their press releases and then write a short article based on someone else’s release – this helps to reinforce the process of selection and interpretation when secondary sources are developed form primary source material.