Julia Crook, a retired health professional, has recently published a book ‘Heathcote psychiatric hospital in Western Australia: An historical glimpse at nursing.’ Julia has worked both as a nurse and an educator at many hospitals and training centres around Western Australia and the United Kingdom, however, her time spent at Heathcote was the happiest in her working life. Nurses genuinely cared about their colleagues and certainly genuinely cared about their patients, and it was this period, and how much mental health nursing has changed since then, that inspired her to record memories of the workplace and profession. Her book has drawn much from interviews with staff and patients of Heathcote Hospital, however, she has delved much further back researching the early records of the Swan River Colony and the Lunatic Asylum to put together a much broader picture examining how the mentally ill were cared for in the 1800s and its development from that time. Julia’s history does much to further our understanding of mental health in Western Australia, reflecting significant changes in attitudes and reforms in treatments for people suffering mental illness.
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