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[Self-harm is a significant mental health issue in the twenty-first century. The recorded rise in various behaviours, including deliberate self-cutting and self-burning, have been widely remarked upon and lamented.1 Eminent cultural historian Sander Gilman has recently written of a global ‘sharp...
[At some point before five P.M. on 25 June 1914, in the small coastal town of Lowestoft, Suffolk, 59-year old Louisa Ashby cuts her own throat with a razor and lies down on her bed. Her eight-year-old granddaughter, Dora, discovers her covered in blood, and runs back downstairs to inform her...
[In 1944, Henderson’s and Gillespie’s Textbook of Psychiatry notes the ‘remarkable progress that has occurred in psychiatry in recent years in the teeth of war conditions, and even, to a limited extent, because of them’.1 The Second World War nurtures and catalyses a large number of reforms and...
[At the end of Stengel’s 1952 paper, ‘Enquiries into attempted suicide’, he speculates about the potential scale of this behaviour:
[I]f the appeal character is such an important feature of the suicidal attempt as we have made it out to be, is there not a likelihood that this powerful and...
[Minister of Health Enoch Powell’s Hospital Plan for England and Wales (1962) is a familiar landmark in twentieth-century psychiatry.1 In 1961 Powell’s ‘water tower’ speech to the National Association of Mental Health eloquently launches the ideas contained within the plan.2 It is an evocative...
[At the start of the 1970s, the number of people recorded as ‘self-poisoning as communication’ is still rising. Typical is a 1972 report from Dunfermline that claims acute ‘poisoning has reached epidemic proportions … [t]he number of poisoned patients increases year by year and there is no...
[Almost three decades ago, historian Howard Kushner writes of his unease at increasingly neurological understandings of behaviour such as suicide. He argues that ‘[o]ne feature of neuropathological approaches, however, seems unaffected by this increasing sophistication: the more scientifically...
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