Inside the Mental: Silence, Stigma, Psychiatry, and LSD

Kay Parley. University of Regina (UTP, dist.), $19.95 (158p) ISBN 978-0-88977-411-7
In this memoir Parley (They Cast a Long Shadow) writes of her experiences as a patient, and later a staff member, at the Saskatchewan Hospital at Weyburn from the late 1940s to the 1960s. Her time there is personally formative, as her fellow patients include her father and grandfather. The staff eventually includes Francis Huxley (nephew of Aldous), who introduces Parley to LSD. She places the hospital in historical context and attributes the comparably greater sense of community among the patients and staff to the more collaborative environment of the times. Parley effectively describes the hospital's attempts to experiment with LSD as a legitimate and seemingly promising therapeutic tool, prior to psychiatry being forced to abandon the drug due to its increasingly negative public image. Even without that concern, clinics probably could not have afforded to continue treating patients with whole days of supervised exploratory LSD trips. Those with long histories of mental illness who have worked hard to integrate it into their lives will find Parley's story relatable. For others with historical interests, the book offers a vivid glimpse into psychiatry's past. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/09/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
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