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Does crime literature contribute to the stigmatisation of those with mental health problems?

  • Janey Antoniou (a1)
Extract

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is in the last year of its ‘Changing Minds' campaign to reduce the stigma of having schizophrenia, substance use problems, dementia, eating disorders, anxiety and depression. As a mental health service user with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, I have been involved in the campaign since its outset and have become used to blaming the media, especially the tabloid press, for a large part of the stigma that people with mental health problems encounter. However, recently while in hospital I re-read an Agatha Christie book and began to wonder whether crime novels, with their usual starting point of a murder, could actually contribute as much to such stigmatisation. As Agatha Christie was probably the most prolific crime writer in the English language, this article examines some of her novels with a view to discovering the extent to which she played a part in the perception of the ‘mad’ killer.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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Christie, A. (1920) The Mysterious Affair at Styles. London: Harper Collins.
Christie, A. (1932) Peril At End House. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1936) The ABC Murders. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1938a) Appointment With Death. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1938b) Hercule Poirot's Christmas. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1939) And Then There Were None (Ten Little Niggers). London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1942) The Body in the Library. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1944) Towards Zero. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1945) Sparkling Cyanide. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1947) The Labours of Hercules. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1952a) Mrs McGinty's Dead. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1952b) They Do It With Mirrors. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1954) Destination Unknown. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1966) Third Girl. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1967) Endless Night. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1968) By the Pricking of My Thumbs. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1969) Halloween Party. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1970) Passenger to Frankfurt. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1971) Nemesis. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1972) Elephants Can Remember. London: HarperCollins.
Christie, A. (1973) Postern of fate. London: Harper Collins.
Knox, R. (1929) Detective Decalogue. In Agatha Christie: A Biography (Morgan, J.). London: William Collins.
Morgan, J. (1984) Agathie Christie: A Biography. London: William Collins.
Taylor, P. J. & Gunn, J. (1999) Homicides by people with mental illness: myth and reality. British Journal of Psychiatry, 174, 914.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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Does crime literature contribute to the stigmatisation of those with mental health problems?

  • Janey Antoniou (a1)
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