Explore the transformational impact of the First World War on mental health care and treatment.

Research the history of the Borough of Portsmouth Mental Asylum (later St.James' Hospital)

LIVE ZOOM Session dates:

Tuesdays, 10.30am - 12noon 8 December 22 December 12 January 26 January

  • Research skills

    Guided material in general research skills

  • Live Zoom Sessions

    Tuesdays, 10.30am - 12noon GMT

    8 December

    22 December

    12 January

    26 January

  • Connect and Share

    Use the course community page to share, chat and support each other

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Online guidance in general research & live Zoom sessions

Session dates are Tues 8th & 22nd Dec, Tues 12th & 26th Jan all at 10:30 GMT

This first part of our project aims to research the history of the Borough of Portsmouth Mental Asylum (later St.James' Hospital), including patient records, to explore the transformational impact of the First World War on mental health care and treatment.


There will be four online group workshops to support people undertaking research as part of this project. The workshops will include guidance around research skills and sources of information, as well as sharing materials and findings. The opportunities include research into attitudes towards mental health care, changes in treatments, including when the hospital was requisitioned by the American Armed Forces in 1918. Through patient records, we will identify individual stories which illustrate the social context of that period – for example returning veterans and young widowed mothers.


The First World War had a profound influence on how mental health care developed at that time, along with many other social changes, and patient records are now publicly available up to 1920 as 100 years has passed.


The second part of the project will involve creative activities to help bring the stories identified through the research to life, and share these with the wider public through a multi-media presentation, and published materials.

Carolyn Barber

Carolyn is a qualified social worker, a serial social entrepreneur, and experienced in implementing creative solutions to challenging problems in social care. As the author of The Layperson’s Guide to Good Mental Health: Your A-Z for a Happier Life, Carolyn has developed a framework for good mental health which she calls the 5 Cs – Character, Composure, Connection, Creativity and Challenge. Using this framework she has delivered community workshops and courses over the past 10 years, to support people working positively towards good mental health, emotional resilience and wellbeing. After 25 years experience working as a social worker, trainer, researcher and manager in local authority and voluntary sector services, she set up an independent arts and wellbeing venue in Portsmouth in 2007. Despite the impact of the economic recession that year, Carolyn kept the venue going for three years before it had to close. From her experience of this enterprise, and the network developed, Carolyn went on to co-found the Good Mental Health Cooperative in 2013, sharing her passion for promoting good mental health and wellbeing and challenging stigma, through community based projects, events and courses. Earlier this year, Carolyn was recognised as an Inspirational Woman in Health by Pamodzi Awards in Portsmouth. Carolyn has worked with local authorities, universities, charities and community groups on a range of innovative projects in social care. She also currently facilitates action learning sets for social entrepreneurs through Action Hampshire, and is a practice assessor for students training to be social workers, and qualified social workers in their first year of practice with Hampshire Adult Care.

Funded by

Heritage Lottery Fund