The privatisation of remembering practices in contemporary inpatient mental healthcare: going beyond Agnes’ jacket

Brown, S.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-7841-3225 and Reavey, P., 2022. The privatisation of remembering practices in contemporary inpatient mental healthcare: going beyond Agnes’ jacket. Memory, Mind and Media, 1 (2022): e7. ISSN 2635-0238

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In this paper, we consider changes to memorial practices for mental health service users during the asylum period of the mid-19th up to the end of the 20th century and into the 21st century. The closing of large asylums in the UK has been largely welcomed by professionals and service-users alike, but their closure has led to a decrease in continuous and consistent care for those with enduring mental health challenges. Temporary and time-limited mental health services, largely dedicated to crisis management and risk reduction have failed to enable memory practices outside the therapy room. This is an unusual case of privatised memories being favoured over collective memorial activity. We argue that the collectivization of service user memories, especially in institutions containing large numbers of long stay patients, would benefit both staff and patients. The benefit would be in the development of awareness of how service users make sense of their past in relation to their present stay in hospital, how they might connect with others in similar positions and how they may connect with the world and others upon future release. This seems to us central to a project of recovery and yet is rarely practiced in any mental health institution in the UK, despite being central to other forms of care provision, such as elderly and children’s care services. We offer some suggestions on how collective models of memory in mental health might assist in this project of recovery and create greater visibility between past, present and future imaginings.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Memory, Mind and Media
Creators: Brown, S.D. and Reavey, P.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date: 2022
Volume: 1
Number: 2022
ISSN: 2635-0238
Rights: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 24 Nov 2021 10:59
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2022 14:47

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