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Mental Health: Misunderstanding and Mistreatment

MA students
12 December 2022 - 6 March 2023
Online exhibition

This online exhibition, curated by MA students from the University of Leeds, explores how mental health has been discussed and ‘treated’ throughout time.

It aims to present a glimpse into the controversial history behind treating mental health.

Mental Health: Misunderstanding and Mistreatment considers themes of diagnosis, medicinal treatment, and the use of institutions in approaches to mental health.

Looking at historical objects provided by the Wellcome Collection, from restraint jackets to Ritalin pill bottles, provides an insight into outdated views and practices, with consideration of how society views and treats mental health today.

The exhibition invites you to consider your own perceptions of mental health and how this has been shaped by historical practices. Do museum collections which focus on violent histories of mental health perpetuate these ideas and perceptions?

Content note: This exhibition considers themes of violence and institutionalization; viewer discretion is advised.

Visit the exhibition

Mental Health: Misunderstanding and Mistreatment is part of a wider series of exhibitions and projects undertaken by MA students from the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies as part of an Interpretations course module.

Visit the exhibition.


High Royds Hospital, Menston, Ilkley, Yorkshire: a corridor (detail). Pencil drawing by Paul Digby, 2003-2004. Wellcome CollectionAttribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)