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From bad to worse: the worst ideas on the mind

Psychiatrists put up ideas for the dustbin, and the audience gets to vote for the worst idea on the mind!

The most infamous mental asylum in England, Bethlam, gave rise to our use of the word ‘bedlam’ – a scene of chaos and confusion. Far from successfully treating patients, these remote buildings would act to institutionalise patients, making it difficult for them to integrate into normal society upon their ‘release’. Indeed, Enoch Powell, sometimes called ‘the father of social care’ likened these hospitals to prisons preventing patients from returning to a normal life. Could asylums be the worst idea on the mind? A common treatment used in such institutions was electroconvulsive therapy. Conjuring up the disturbing scene from ‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’, this method is still used today to treat patients with severe depression and schizophrenia. A viable method for the treatment of mental illness or a barbaric form of torture?
Others argue a major hindrance to successful mental health treatment is, surprisingly – the medical profession. Between 2000-2002, the UK saw a 68% rise in children being prescribed drugs to either calm or stimulate the brain – one of the highest increases in the world during that period. Antidepressants are commonly prescribed for conditions as innocuous as bed-wetting and it is argued that doctors are dishing out the drugs due to the lack of psychotherapy services. Would we all have better mental health without the interference of drug-pushing doctors?

Come and listen to the hall of shame that comprises ‘the worst ideas on the mind’ as various speakers from the Institute of Psychiatry outline the most ill-fated ideas in treating mental health.


various speakers | talks


Date and Time:

15 June 2006 at 7:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Franklin-Wilkins Building, KCL
King's College London (Waterloo Campus)
150 Stamford Street

Show map

Organised by:

The Royal Institution of Great Britain
See other talks organised by The Royal Institution of Great Britain...



£8/£5 concessions

Available from:

The Ri Events Team on 020 7409 2992 or www.rigb.org

Additional Information:

In association with the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.

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