Sixth form pupils explore a history of mental health at Bethlem Hospital

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Bethlem Hospital

Students From Lewes Old Grammar School stand between statues of Melancholia and Madness, which were used to welcome visitors to the site in the 1700s.

Sixth form pupils explore a history of mental health at Bethlem Hospital

Sixth form pupils from Lewes Old Grammar School delved into an in-depth history of mental health last week on a trip to one of the UK’s oldest and most famous mental institutions.

A group of students visited Bethlem Hospital in London on Friday, to explore the various practices and prejudices associated with mental health across the ages.

The institution, founded in 1330, actually inspired the well-known term “Bedlam” due to its infamous treatment of mental illness. It has since become one of the most highly regarded institutions in Europe under the stewardship of the NHS.

Throughout the day, students had the opportunity to explore artwork created by patients of Bethlem hospital. They also saw historic photographs of the institution and read from a selection of letters written by staff and patients over the years.

The excursion took place as part of the school’s burgeoning Psychology curriculum. Teachers designed the day to help pupils contextualise modern day approaches to mental health issues.

The trip continued LOGS’ ongoing efforts to create a more open discussion about mental health. A few months ago, staff underwent mental health first aid training. In the junior school, teachers have also tasked pupils with ‘Happiness Homework’.

Head of Psychology, Lauren Burns, said: “It was fascinating to see how attitudes to mental health have changed. The stigma and discrimination of the late Middle Ages has fortunately been replaced by a much better understanding.

“Our students really came to terms with how stigma can affect treatment and recovery. I think we all left feeling informed and inspired. It’s so important to talk about mental health in a proactive way and to always remain compassionate.”

–end–                                                    14 May 2018