Preventing Mental Illness

Past, Present and Future

  • Despo Kritsotaki
  • Vicky Long
  • Matthew Smith

Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series (MHHP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Matthew Smith, Vicky Long, Oonagh Walsh, Despo Kritsotaki
    Pages 1-38
  3. Lucas Richert, Matthew DeCloedt
    Pages 187-207
  4. Ali Haggett
    Pages 257-280 Open Access
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 281-292

About this book


This book provides an overview of a diverse array of preventive strategies relating to mental illness, and identifies their achievements and shortcomings. The chapters in this collection illustrate how researchers, clinicians and policy makers drew inspiration from divergent fields of knowledge and practice: from eugenics, genetics and medication to mental hygiene, child guidance, social welfare, public health and education; from risk management to radical and social psychiatry, architectural design and environmental psychology. It highlights the shifting patterns of biological, social and psychodynamic models, while adopting a gender perspective and considering professional developments as well as changing social and legal contexts, including deinstitutionalisation and social movements. Through vigorous research, the contributors demonstrate that preventive approaches to mental health have a long history, and point to the conclusion that it might well be possible to learn from such historical attempts. The book also explores which of these approaches are worth considering in future and which are best confined to the past. Within this context, the book aims at stoking and informing debate and conversation about how to prevent mental illness and improve mental health in the years to come. 

Chapters 3, 10, and 12 of this book are available open access under a CC BY 4.0 license at


Depression Prevention rather than cure Mental health professionals Policy makers Europe North America Health Service Welfare Mental hygiene Childhood Illness, disease Psychiatry Eugenics

Editors and affiliations

  • Despo Kritsotaki
    • 1
  • Vicky Long
    • 2
  • Matthew Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of History and Archaeology, University of CreteRethymno, CreteGreece
  2. 2.School of History, Classics and ArchaeologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  3. 3.Centre for the Social History of Health and HealthcareUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-98698-2
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-98699-9
  • Buy this book on publisher's site