The Silent Minority


Past horrifying conditions in mental hospitals in Britain.

SKU: 1167
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Producer: Nigel Evans
Year Produced: 1982
Running time: 60 minutes
Trailer:  Watch on Youtube
Watch online: ideo on demand


Made in 1982 this shock documentary shows how understaffing resulted in deteriorating nursing care within our hospitals for the ‘mentally handicapped’. Made when conditions were considerably worse than the present day, it is a very valuable record of how it was then, and a warning to us now. In a hospital in Berkshire patients were locked into a wire-netted compound so that the hard pressed staff could have some peace – there they tore out each other’s hair and suffered from sunburn resulting from skin hypersensitivity, a side effect of the drugs they were given.

Children in a Surrey hospital could expect no more than five minutes “mothering” attention every ten hours, so they resorted to bizarre behaviour to attract attention. This in turn could lead them to experience further deprivation. Includes interviews with patients and staff, including some who left because they were not willing to be part of such a system. A classic.
This film is of historical interest and reflects the cultural attitudes, medical procedures and language of the time it was made. But the issues raised may be timeless.

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