Historical recovery heroes – Charles Darwin

Elizabeth Wakely (Retired History Teacher and Service User from London, UK)
Jerome Carson (Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Publication date: 23 May 2011



The paper reviews Darwin's health problems and suggests they may have been a “creative malady”.


The authors look at Darwin's upbringing, his career and achievements, evidence for mental illness and his status as a historical recovery hero.


In addition to the published literature, Darwin himself acknowledged that his health problems enabled him to dedicate his life to his scientific research.


The authors combine their perspectives as a historian and psychologist to interpret the literature on Darwin's illness.



Wakely, E. and Carson, J. (2011), "Historical recovery heroes – Charles Darwin", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 66-70. https://doi.org/10.1108/20428301111140903

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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