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Mental Illness Depicted in Books and Movies

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I have always been drawn to the way our minds work.(BEWARE OF THESE MOVIE CLIPS. ESPECIALLY SHUTTER ISLAND. ALTHOUGH I THINK YOU'LL GET A GOOD DOSE OF HUMOR FROM WHAT ABOUT BOB?  I'm fascinated with movies and/or books like A Beautiful Mind, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Inception, Shutter IslandOrdinary People  and even the humorous side of mental illness in What About Bob?? rings true to life for patients when their therapists or psychiatrists leave for vacation. If you've never seen the movie K-PAX it's very interesting, and Jack Nicholson in, As Good As It Gets, can teach us all a little bit about the difficulties of mental illness for the person with the illness and for those around them.

My first historical romance, Secrets of the Heart, Book One in the Ravensmoore Chronicles, released in May 2011 and will take you on a journey where some of the aspects of mental health and mental illness are explored in England during 1817. The more I researched for this book and my next, with the current working title of Chameleon, the more fascinated I became. Of course the treatment of mental illness was in its infancy in those days and the days prior to that. Many thought mental illness was due to demon possession. The archaic methods of treatment were barbaric for centuries.

Originally the priory of St. Mary Bethlehem, Bethlem Royal Hospital, also known as Bedlam began admitting patients who were considered unbalanced or mentally ill in 1357. Many people don't understand that these names are for the same place. Unlike the United States Bethlem was admitting patients when we were keeping patients in jails and alms houses.This hospital originally stood at Bishopsgate and then moved to Moorfields and eventually to St George’s Fields, Southwark.

If you would like to explore more about the fascinating facts of this institution please follow this link. 

What book or movie influenced the way you think about mental illness?


  1. I watched the snake pit as an impressionable tween. This was back when there was a movie on tv every weekday at 4pm. I adored them all, and of course I was fascinated with this one because Olivia DeHavilland (Melanie from Gone with the Wind) starred in the movie.

    I just watched it again last winter.

  2. I meant to capitalize The Snake Pit. Sorry. Brain has not recovered from the work day yet...

  3. Hey Deb,
    I watched The Snake Pit when I was a kid but I haven't seen it since then. Maybe I'll have to do that again sometime. No worries about capitals, etc. here. Different kind of role for Olivia.