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27 Mar 2024

“My Asylum Days” by Peter Carter

As we embrace the budding promise of spring, we’re moved to introduce a compelling addition to the discourse on mental health care: “My Asylum Days” by Peter Carter.

Through Carter’s lens, we confront the stark realities of mental health care and are compelled to reflect on the inadequacies of current systems. His insights serve as a wake-up call for health professionals, managers and ministers, urging them to reassess and improve the services they provide.

“Dr Peter Carter’s account weaves his own life and career from trainee psychiatric nurse to chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing with stories of the patients in his care over the past six decades.
He paints a poignant tableau of the old asylums: the often-shocking conditions of back wards in overcrowded institutions, as well as extraordinary acts of tenderness and compassion by dedicated doctors and nurses.

“It was only the vision of people like Dr Carter – together with the development of more effective medication – which led to a more enlightened approach to mental illness. But as he describes, the devastating impact of the wholescale closure of these hospitals, and the failed promises of care in the community to replace them, means that instead of liberating patients, many are still left at risk of neglect and suicide.

“This is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of mental illness, so that lessons can be learnt, and hope offered, of more responsive and effective care for people who, through no fault of their own, experience mental distress and despair.”

-Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive SANE

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