One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest v Modern Psychiatry

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest v Modern Psychiatry

There is no doubt that One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is one of the seminal films in mental health fiction. Its legacy is still strong forty years later - barely a week passes without one of my patients mentioning the film, usually comparing it to the ward or my proposed treatment plan. But it is exactly that legacy that haunts the fight against mental health stigma. This film has so permeated the public consciousness that when folk think of mental health, they think about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. So, how accurate is it? Are mental health units full of Nurse Ratcheds? What conditions do the ward's patients suffer from? And is electroconvulsive therapy really that barbaric? But first: It is 2015, not 1975. Why is this point important? Because medicine's approach to mental illness has changed dramatically over the past forty years. A lot of the problems I identified with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next stem from it being a product...
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