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Comparative perspectives on post-institutional mental health landscapes

Research theme: Global Heritage

School: School of Social Sciences

Setting the Context

  • Deinstitutionalisation and the introduction of community care have revolutionised mental health service provision across Europe. Implementation, timing and services have varied widely in different countries.
  • Calabria’s research identifies hidden positives of British institutional spaces in providing meaningful and therapeutic practices for service users, perceived to be lost in current settings.
  • There are significant gaps in understanding and a need to explore the impacts of deinstitutionalisation outside of Britain, across a range of policy landscapes, as well as the dynamics of remembering/forgetting at play.

Addressing the Challenge

This project will develop an international, interdisciplinary partnership to explore these issues in Ireland. Ireland’s shared legislative history with the UK before 1922 and divergence thereafter offers a context specific comparison for establishing key research objectives to:

1) Map Ireland’s legislative, social and political developments and compare it to Britain;

2) Develop a collaborative network of scholars, practitioner academics and service users;

3) Collate knowledge to inform collaborative interdisciplinary research.

Making a Difference

The main expected outcomes for this project are as follows:

  • Capacity development and knowledge exchange across all stakeholders
  • Contribution of knowledge in mental health policy and memory studies
  • Cross-disciplinary international collaborations


The NTU principal investigator is Dr Verusca Calabria, Early Career Research Fellow, School of Social Sciences; Calabria’s research sits across the intersection of psychosocial approaches to mental health, the social of history of psychiatry and its heritage, as well as participatory methodologies, namely oral history and participatory-action-research. The co-investigators are Associate Professor Jenny Wüstenberg, NTU History, Languages and Global Cultures and Assistant Professor Arlene Crampsie, School of Geography, University College Dublin, Ireland.

Photo credited to Jacob Amson of Unsplash.