The North Wales Mental Health Research Project

A History of Psychiatry in North Wales.

Over the past 15 years, colleagues at the Department of Psychological Medicine have collected a huge amount of quantitative data on patients from North West Wales going through psychiatric unit (Hergest) at Ysbyty Gwynedd (the main District Hospital in North West Wales). When analysing this data we have been able to chart a startling portrait of diseases rising and falling during the period 1995 to 2010. This material has so far been presented in a series of articles in terms of facts, figures and statistical analyses.

But behind the data is a dramatic story and one of the plans now is to tell that story in as dramatic a fashion as we can. We have taken several cuts through the admission records from the 19th and early 20th century to the North Wales Hospital (Denbigh Asylum) and more recently to the Hergest Unit and present the rise and fall of illnesses through the cases of real people admitted during those periods.

To get this to work in the most effective way we have selected four years from the historical cohort and present materials such as video links, audio links, newspaper scans and photographs into the text in a manner that should make it possible for readers across the world to see just what it was like to be in North Wales during this period and in so doing to understand the story that is being told in a much more profound way than simple text alone would do.

We have managed to collect a lot of material already such as some video clips from the Asylum as well as the old C&A hospital, photos of the Hergest Unit being build and audio files of a woman admitted to Llanerchymedd workhouse in 1910. However we believe there is much more information out there and we need your help. We have already convened hospital staff from nursing staff, consultants and other healthcare professions as well as colleagues at Bangor University and would also like to hear from an ever wider range of interested parties across Wales.

If you have any ideas or suggestions please feel free to post and add your comments to our Facebook page.

We look forward to hearing from you.


This project is endorsed by Professor Merfyn Jones CBE former Chair Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Mr David Jones MP Clywd West / Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales, Mr Chris Ruane MP (Vale of Clwyd), Hywel Williams MP (Arfon), Mark Isherwood AM (Shadow Minister for Social Justice & Housing), Ken Skates AM (Clwyd South), Llyr Gruffydd AM (Minister of WA for N Wales), Antoinette Sandbach AM (Shadow Minister for Rural Affairs), Alun Ffred Jones AM (Arfon & Minister for Heritage), Darren Millar AM/AC (Shadow Minister for Health) & Ieuan Wyn Jones (Assembly Member for Ynys Môn).