'As a nurse you could help the recovery of the mentally ill', nursing recruitment poster by Central Office of Information, England, 1950-1966
This poster was part of a drive to recruit mental health nurses and advertises jobs for those aged 18-45. It indicates that GCE ‘O’ levels (General Certificate of Education, now GCSEs) were not required. The poster states: ‘You could help the recovery of the mentally ill’, as was issued by Oakwood Hospital, in Maidstone, Kent. The image appears to be a clear attempt to promote mental health patients as ‘everyday’ people, with a well dressed patient being escorted by a young female nurse. The emphasis on recovery from mental illness highlights an attitude shift. Mental illness was no longer a lifelong affliction, but something one could recover from.
Oakwood Hospital was founded in 1833 as the Kent County Lunatic Asylum. It housed over 2,000 patients by 1948 (briefly before this poster was issued). Like many original 19th century asylums, Oakwood Hospital was closed in the 1990s.