Mental health and learning disability milestones through the decades

Since the NHS was founded on 5 July 1948 there have been huge changes in the way we think about mental health and learning disability – and in how we support people. Take a look at some of the key milestones and developments over the last 70 years and how they have affected what we do in Devon.

in 1979

in

1979

Large institutions are common everywhere. In Devon, Exminster Hospital has 784 beds; Exeter City Asylum has 301 beds; Wonford House Hospital has 110 beds – and there are many more institutions of varying sizes across the county.

In 1977

In

1977

Former Learning Disability Nurse Jean Waldron talks about her career and involvement in learning disability over the years.

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In 1973

In

1973

Homosexuality is removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disporders (DSM - the American classification of mental disorders), meaning it's no longer classed as a mental illness.

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In 1971

In

1971

Better Services white paper – outlines a desire to move away from caring for people with ‘mental handicap’ in institutional settings and to increase the provision of local and community care. 

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In 1970

In

1970

Education (Handicapped Children) Act: removes the classification of children with learning disabilities as ‘unsuitable for education at school’, bringing them into the mainstream education system. 

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In

1970

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is created - subsequently becoming, and remaining, one of the major therapies for supporting people with mental health needs.

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