Suicide, mental illness, and psychiatry in Queensland, 1890-1950. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • This article contributes to the history of psychiatry by examining the practice of institutional and community psychiatry in early-twentieth-century Queensland. The source material for this article emerged from a larger project on the history of suicide and a review of the publications and lectures of the state's leading psychiatrist, John Bostock. The paper comes to several conclusions. First, asylums responded to the diversity of illnesses by making case-based judgments about the duration of treatment and the possibility of paroles. Many suicidal patients were not locked up for long periods if their ailments showed promise of alleviation. Second, we suggest that in the interwar period private practice was vibrant and worked interactively with traditional asylum committal. Third, even in rural areas there was awareness by the 1930s of urban-based alternatives to the asylums. Finally, we found evidence of attentive families who pursued several avenues of care for their loved-ones. Ultimately, the findings point to a complex mixed marketplace in psychiatric care during this time period.

publication date

  • 2009