Mental Illness and Psychiatry: The 20th and Early 21st Centuries

  • Paulann Grech University of Malta, Malta
  • Reuben Grech University of Malta, Malta
Keywords: critical psychiatry, mental health, mental illness, psychiatry, twentieth century


The aim of this paper is to present the opposing views and tensions that characterised the evolution of psychiatry and understandings of mental health during the 20th century and the early decades of the 21st century. To this extent, the principal figures and entities that occupied the main fronts during these debates are presented during a description of the journey undertaken by psychiatry during the aforementioned years. Quotes from various original texts or their translations have been included in an attempt to recreate the spirit of the periods under study. This historical exploration provides further insight into the multifaceted world of mental health, its illnesses, treatments and the role of a number of influencing bodies that were crucial into shaping this discipline across the centuries.


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