by Dr.Diane Carpenter, PhD, MSc, BA (Hons), RMN, Dip.N. Ed

The Good Mental Health Cooperative is inviting people to join a new project to explore 'Stories from the Borough of Portsmouth Mental Hospital during the Great War 1914 -19'.

Dr.Diane Carpenter has kindly agreed to give a talk for one of two introductory events to generate interest in this project, and to seek out volunteers who have an interest in the history of mental health care.

About the talk

This talk seeks to examine the role of history in explaining ‘madness’ and the problems associated with individual historians’ interpretations and representations of the asylum system. It seeks to address the following questions: firstly, have our current policies and thinking on mental health been influenced inadequately, incompletely and incorrectly by historical analysis, and secondly, what is the use of history to contemporary mental health care? It does not deny that asylum care and provision deteriorated, but suggests that the period before the medical model dominated mental health treatment should not have been so vehemently maligned, and may, indeed, hold a key to recovery today. The talk also focuses upon the practice and power of historians in rewriting the past generally and includes an overview of the process of documentary research and assessment of the difficulties associated with the interpretation of documentary evidence, auto biography and oral history.

About Dr.Diane Carpenter

I have been a lecturer in Mental Health Nursing within the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Plymouth since 201`7 and at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton since 2003. I have a clinical background in Mental Health Nursing (dating from 1978) and have taught mental health nurses and other health and social care professionals in academic and clinical environments since 1986.

I embarked upon my doctoral studies in 2007 believing that combining my interest in mental health with my developing personal interest in local history might be fulfilling, useful and perhaps a little indulgent. I quickly became immersed in the documents where, before long, the characters from the past appeared to come to life. I hope I will do justice to their memories in my talk.

Funded by

Heritage Lottery Fund

Mental Wealth Academy

The Good Mental Health Cooperative

The Good Mental Health Cooperative supports people to access community based activities and workshops which help with inclusion, recovery and good mental health. The support is intended for people who have experienced serious life challenges, are socially isolated, anxious or lacking in confidence. This may include experience of mental ill-health, addictions, disability, bereavement, caring responsibilities for example. At the Good Mental Health Cooperative, we believe that connecting with others, and informal learning opportunities, are really important steps to good mental health, bringing a sense of inclusion and challenge, rather than feeling isolated and lacking in purpose.