Will Self Tells of a Friend’s Detention in Psychiatric Hospital


From BBC’s A Point of View. Will Self tells the disturbing story of what happened to a friend, recently detained in a London psychiatric hospital.

“To stand in the corridor of a crowded locked ward in a contemporary British mental hospital” writes Will Self, “is still to feel oneself closer to Hogarth’s hellish vision of Bedlam, than any enlightened healthcare”.


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MITUK’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for fundamentally re-thinking theory and practice in the field of mental health in the UK, and promoting positive change. We believe that the current diagnostically-based paradigm of care has comprehensively failed, and that the future lies in non-medical alternatives which explicitly acknowledge the causal role of social and relational conflicts, abuses, adversities and injustices.


  1. This is a great piece by Will Self, brilliant. When you see fragments of what he proposes in action ie. respect, assistance, validation, understanding and community, otherwise techincally referred to as psycho-social factors, it all seems so obvious. These really look to be the building blocks of recovery.

    And yet much of mainstream psychiatry holds on to unsubstantiated claims which we should all note down and report when we hear them. For example: “Its a biochemical imbalance, its not extreme angst, its a serious psychotic illness, there is no doubt, and the medication treatment for it will work”. These claims should be challenged, because there is very little behind them.