Day: September 17, 2011

Madness, Badness and the Irish

‘Behind the Walls’ was a two-part documentary series charting the history of Ireland’s psychiatric hospitals (http://www.rte.ie/tv/programmes/behind_the_walls.html) . Part one lifted the lid on this vast system – during the middle decades of the 20th century, Ireland led the world in locking up more of its people per capita in mental hospitals, ahead even of the old Soviet Union. Part two presented a series of testimonies by former inmates speaking of their bewilderment at being forcibly incarcerated, and often abused by unscrupulous psychiatrists. The leading body representing Irish psychiatrists, however, did not accept the series, suggesting that the documentary ‘was imbalanced and lacked objectivity in its portrayal of the mental health system’, (Irish Times, 17 September 2011). Read more