A History of Self-Harm in Britain: A Genealogy of Cutting by Chris Millard

By Chris Millard

This e-book is open entry less than a CC through license and charts the increase and fall of assorted self-harming behaviours in twentieth-century Britain. It places self-cutting and overdosing into old standpoint, linking them to the massive adjustments that ensue in psychological and actual healthcare, social paintings and wider politics.

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61 Both show that nineteenth-century (and before) information about attempted suicide does not come from so organised and systematic a source as coroners, who record and categorise the dead, not the living attempter. Twentieth century: observation wards and general hospitals Erwin Stengel, influential commentator on communicative self-harm, does not use asylum statistics for his studies in the 1950s and 1960s. He begins his most influential researches through clinical work in mentalobservation wards attached to general hospitals, places significantly associated with attempted suicide patients.

One of the key sources supporting Anderson’s claim that ‘recorded suicide attempts far outnumbered registered suicides in Victorian London’ is a one-off: ‘Numerical Analysis of the Patients Treated in Guy’s Hospital’ (a general hospital) between 1854 and 1861. 42 A term produced in the mid-twentieth-century around communicative overdoses brought to National Health Service (NHS) hospitals is unsuitable for understanding an attempted suicide composed of police records and a one-off hospital analysis.

67 The mid-twentieth-century history of this divide runs through three acts of Parliament: The Mental Treatment Act 1930 allows noncertified treatment in county asylums; the establishment of the NHS (1948) brings mental and general medicine under the same administrative structure; the Mental Health Act 1959 removes all legal barriers to the treatment of mental illness in general hospitals. 69 Efforts to integrate the separated therapeutics of mental Self-Harm from Social Setting to Neurobiology 31 and general medicine form a crucial backdrop throughout this book, but instead of being smooth or teleological, this process is uneven, faltering and local.

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