Understanding Mental Health

This year’s Glasgow Science Festival features a screening of ‘Patrick’s Day’, an award-winning drama described by the Irish Times as: “a fascinating collision of psychiatric drama and state-of-the nation address.” After the film, clinical psychologists from the University of Glasgow will present a Q&A to explore mental illness, which is still too often considered a taboo subject, despite 1 in 4 people in the UK experiencing a mental health problem each year.


1. Who are you and what do you do?

Hamish McLeod. I am a Clinical Psychologist working on the development of complex interventions for people who have severe and persisting problems. This includes work with people whose problems have come from diverse causes such as head injuries, degenerative conditions (e.g. Alzheimer’s dementia) and psychosis. I also train the next generation of clinical psychologists through the University of Glasgow’s Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

2. What brings you to Glasgow Science Festival this year?

Mental ill health has a wide impact beyond the person identified as the patient. Research on how to meaningfully improve mental health care benefits from involving the whole community – for example reducing stigma, improving timely help-seeking, guiding families and wider social networks to cope more effectively. The GSF is a great way to engage people in a conversation about how we can all understand and act in ways that reduces the suffering of others.

3. 2016 is Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. What innovation could you not live without?

I’m originally from New Zealand so visits home with the family involve long flights. Whoever invented “back of the seat” inflight entertainment systems prevented many a fight between my three boys.

4It’s Glasgow Science Festival’s 10th birthday! We’ll be celebrating with some science-themed cake and balloons. What’s your birthday treat of choice?

Time with my family in the Scottish countryside.

5. And finally: impress us with your favourite science fact or joke.

Before developing psychoanalysis, Freud worked on understanding physiological processes underlying mental ill health. This led him to being a strong advocate of the use of cocaine as a cure for problems such as morphine addiction and alcoholism. Although with hindsight we can see the flaw in this view, it is a salutary reminder of how predisposed we are to seeking “wonder cures”.

Join Hamish and his colleague Andrew for ‘Patrick’s Day’ on Monday 13 June from 19:30-22:00. Tickets are FREE and should be booked online. For booking and more information, visit the website.


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