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Overlapping vs Merging the 20th and the 21st Century

The aim of this work has been to use the context of British mental health in the 20th and the 21st century to call for a nuanced approach to historical periodisation. The continuation we have seen between the two centuries suggests that the metric separation of the centuries in the context of historical analysis may be misleading. In addition, the ambivalence present in both societies, as a result of their heterogeneity, suggests that time periods cannot be distinguished using clear-cut demarcations based on perceived notions of progression. Thus far, it seems appropriate to effectively merge the centuries.

However, to do so would disregard certain progressions which have taken place in the field of mental health attitudes. This can be seen especially within attitudes, awareness, and analysis of:

  • Suicide as a result of mental health conditions
  • The treating of mental illness as an illness rather than a purely environmental/social condition
  • The gender dynamics involved in present-day mental health

Hence, although the reality of periodisation lies far from a clear-cut separation, there are differences between the two centuries. Hence, although there exists this complex dynamic of opinions in both, it would be more accurate to acknowledge an overlap between the two time-periods.