Manchester Medical Society

Events & Meetings

Become a member

Examining the Past, Present and Future of Psychiatry

  • Date: Wednesday 28th April 2021 from 2.00 pm
  • Venue: Zoom meeting
  • Members £0.00
  • Non Members £

This meeting is being subsidised by the Manchester Medical Society and is FREE for all to attend. You will be able to submit questions to the speaker during the event using the Q&A function on Zoom. The webinar will be recorded.

Register in advance for this webinar at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.  To create a free zoom account, visit

The afternoon will start with history Professor, Peter Pormann who will describe a general outline of where mental health and healthcare sit within humoral pathology, and then take the special case of melancholy and provide some interesting case notes.

Our second speaker Dr Afshan Khawaja will talk about working in and surviving inpatient psychiatry in Manchester, having worked in the area for 25 years.

Our final speaker will help us to understand possible future directions for psychiatry.

We will be assisted by the Museum of Medicine and Health who will be sharing images of their collection related to psychiatry.

1.50 pm
Viewing of Artefacts from The Museum of Medicine and Health in Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health (FBMH)

2.00 pm
Mental Health in the Medieval Islamic World: The Case of Melancholy
Professor Peter Pormann, Professor of Classics & Graeco-Arabic Studies, University of Manchester

Synopsis of talk:

In the medical system that emerged in the medieval Islamic world, the interface between mind and body played a prominent role. The theory of the four humours—black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm—dominated medical discourse, but also recognised the importance of the so-called six ‘non-naturals’, one of which is the patient’s state of mind. The example of melancholy can illustrate the complex relationship between bodily and mental factors: it is a disease caused by an access of black bile (called *mélaina cholḗ* in Greek; hence melancholy), yet also triggered by lifestyle and mood; and its treatments range from medical to diet and social intercourse.

2.40 pm
Surviving in-patient psychiatry in Manchester
Presidential Address of Dr Afshan Khawaja, Consultant Psychiatrist, Greater Manchester and Mental Health Trusts

Synopsis of talk:

Dr Khawaja is conducting a survey of doctors working at GMMH about why they came here and stayed. I will be asking and then hopefully answering a series of questions about psychiatry in Manchester. Questions such as why are the beds always full, why are so many inpatients on a section and why we cannot hold onto staff.

Learning points

  1. Psychiatry in Manchester – who are the population we look after and what is the service we provide
  2. Why does it feel so busy and why do we use detention, restraint and seclusion at the levels we do
  3. Who are the staff and what do they think of working here

3.20-3.30 pm
Short break and Viewing of Artefacts from The Museum of Medicine and Health in FBMH

3.30-4.10 pm
Virtual Reality treatment for psychiatric disorders
Professor Dr Wim Veling, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Head of the Virtual Reality mental health lab in the Department of Psychiatry at University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Synopsis of talk:

Over the past years, Virtual Reality (VR) has been introduced in treatment of psychiatric disorders. VR treatments have been developed for many different psychiatric problems, e.g., anxiety, psychosis, eating disorders, aggression, stress and depression.  In this lecture, Professor Dr Veling  will give an overview of VR treatments for psychiatric disorders, with a focus on effectiveness, practical use and implementation. Novel developments and future use of VR in psychiatry will be discussed.

4.10 pm
Closing comments & completion of online questionnaire and Viewing of Artefacts from The Museum of Medicine and Health in FBMH