David Brandon and Jo Payne
This chapter contains two personal accounts of psychiatric breakdown while studying at university. David Brandon was a student first at the University of Hull and later undertook a social work course at the London School of Economics (LSE). While at the LSE he had a 'breakdown', but still qualified and later became Professor of Community Care at Anglia Polytechnic University (APU) and a Chair of the British Association of Social Workers. Jo Payne was a student at Durham University studying Philosophy and Politics; she later became a social work student at APU in Cambridge, where David Brandon supervised her second placement. She qualified in 1998 and has mainly worked as a researcher. The chapter ends with some conclusions about responses, treatment and recovery.
Going to Hull University in 1960, as a young social studies student, was an immense challenge. I came from a poor home in Sunderland – itself a town of poverty. My dad was in and out of mental hospital, with a track record of erratic behaviour and regularly beating up my mother and myself. I'd already spent some time living on the streets of London and carried the shadows of many beatings from the age of two years onwards. Attending the university was an alien and unsupportive experience. Sitting at the long tables in the halls of residence, the public school, para-military culture seemed a very long way from growing up on a council housing estate just