Central Mental Hospital Carers Group
Hospital or Prison? What Future for the Central Mental Hospital?
Entrance to the Central Mental Hospital
© D. Speirs
The Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum probably evokes a cold shiver in people as they pass by – that is, if they think about it at all. The perception of the hospital is influenced visually by the high walls, the imposing metal gates leading up a long avenue to another electronic gate, and the glimpse of a huge grey granite building. It is fuelled, no doubt, by stories and myths about mental illness, criminal lunatics and madness. People may read in the newspapers about the crimes of some patients but do they realise: ‘There but for the grace of God go I’? None of us knows when or where mental health problems will occur or with what severity. Certainly none of us who are parents or relatives of patients in the Central Mental Hospital ever expected serious mental illness to visit our families.