Creativity and Mental Health

  • Roberta McDonnell


From ancient history and on through the dark and middle ages, philosophers of many persuasions have waxed lyrical on the subject of creativity and a coincidental struggle with mental health. Aristotle is said to have declared that ‘there was never a genius without a tincture of madness’ and the eighteenth-century German scholar Lichtenberg is reported to have commented that the graffiti on the madhouse walls would often be worthy of publication. So the ‘mad genius’ stereotype is an idea that has been proliferating for centuries, an assumption that there is a relationship between high creativity and the potential for emotional breakdown in an individual person (Hare 1987; Storr 1993; Waddell 1998; Barrantes-Vidal 2004).


Mental Health Social Support Mental Illness Service User Creative Activity 
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© Roberta McDonnell 2014

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  • Roberta McDonnell

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