Sunday On March 19th the Sunday Times devoted its colour supplement to 'The Mind'. Dr. Donald Gould assesses the features it contained
'Depression, the running down of the mind's vitality, anxiety without rational cause, is the most psychiatric problem and probably as widespread as the common cold.' This is the opening sen-
tence in one article of the March 19 edition of the
Sunday Times magazine,* which was given over to a popular exposition of some of the problems of the mind, including mental illness. It is a fair sample of the level of the writing throughout the issue, which is clear, informative, balanced, critical, and, above all, responsible.
Since mind-trouble is far and away the commonest, and one of the most distressing, of human afflictions, there is a large and ready readership for writings on the theme. The whole subject is so highly emotive, and there is so much difference of opinion between the 'experts', that a callous sensation-monger can readily exploit the relevant facts and figures without much fear of being firmly contradicted and confounded. The people concerned with the Sunday
Times' survey evidently set out to help their readers, and not just to titillate them. The sentence I quoted immediately establishes that depression is a trouble widely shared, so victims of depression, reading those words, will tend to find their own particular trouble halved. There is a brief introductory paragraph and the rest of the article consists of descriptions by Spike Milligan and John Betjeman of their own recurrent moods of hopelessness and irrational gloom. It is reassuring to learn that two such currently vigorous and successful men are just as vulnerable as the rest of us to feelings of depression which are often regarded by the individual who suffers from them as uniquely horrifying, and a cause for shame. Accounts of other abnormal mental states, of theories concerning the way the mind works in health and in sickness, and of the help that can be given to the troubled, make up the rest of this carefully constructed chronicle. For a contribution toward the dispersal of the fog of ignorance, fear and prejudice which hampers attempts to lessen the misery caused by disturbed minds, the Sunday Times deserves our
Stocks are very low but a few copies of the magazine still obtainable from: The Sunday Times (Backdates Dept.), Thomson House, 200 Gray's Inn Road, London, IV.C.l, price Is. 3d. (includes postage). *