Psychiatry in the 1970s in the south west of England

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has two anniversaries in 2021.

  • 50 years ago, it was formally created in its current form, as a Royal College.
  • 180 years ago, its story started with a meeting in Gloucester that set up the first organisation for asylum doctors.

As part of its celebrations, the College’s south west office is collecting stories of what the services were like in the 1970s in the south west of England.

We feel a lot has changed since then and few staff have any idea of what practice was like in the 1970s.

We want to create an archive of experiences before they are totally lost, and have special interest in the hearing about the following:

  • We’re very keen to include some first-hand accounts of what it was like to work in the 1970s.
  • We are especially keen for accounts of what it was like to be on the receiving end of mental health services then.
  • What was it like living in the community and needing help or giving help?
  • What was it like being in a psychiatric hospital then?

We would love to hear from anyone who can tell us about life in the mental health services before 1980.

If you would like to get involved, please contact Abby or Tania in the South West Division on 01761 463979 or email

Simply send us a brief summary of your experiences and a way we can contact you - then one of us will be in touch to talk more about your experiences and work out how you can best share them with others.

Please spread the word – we want to hear as many diverse experiences as possible.

Please note the closing date for submissions is 9am, Monday 19 July 2021.

Back to our June 2021 eNewsletter.

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