Bethlem Royal Hospital Visit – psychology students delve into the important link between art and mental health

Friday, 10 November 2017

On Friday 10th November Year 13 Psychology students visited Bethlem Royal Hospital, the oldest psychiatric institution in the world. Students were given an overview of the history of the hospital from the 13th century to present day, focusing on radical changes in understanding of mental illness and ways to treat them. Students spent time in Bethlem Gallery and Museum where they were able to view centuries of significant historic artworks and objects together with inspiring contemporary works by current artists and service users. The temporary showcase ‘The Art of Recovery’ was particularly moving and poignant, showing wire models created by ex-service men and women suffering from trauma related mental health issues who were using art to tell their story. Students were also involved in a creative activity where they were asked to analyse a famous painting called ‘The Maze’ by William Kurelek, a past patient of Bethlem Hospital. They found it fascinating to see how William was able to tell his doctors about his emotions and feelings towards a range of issues and experiences, both past and present, using one painting.