Dr Chris Millard

Wellcome Trust Medical Humanities Research Fellow

Location Arts Two 2.19

Email: chris.millard@qmul.ac.uk

I joined the School in 2013. As a history undergraduate at the University of York I became interested in the history of sexuality and history of medicine. I came to Queen Mary’s Centre for the History of Emotions for my doctoral research on the history of ‘attempted suicide as a cry for help’ in twentieth-century British psychiatry.


My overarching research interest is in the history of psychiatry, psychology and other sciences of the mind – specifically how these relate to contemporary identity and selfhood. I am especially interested in the relationships between social science and medicine more generally – how ideas of ‘the social setting’, ‘social environment’ and ‘social stresses’ become central in psychology and psychiatry. This ‘social setting’ is currently being displaced by increasingly reductive biological and neurological visions of human nature and behaviour.

My current research focuses on Munchausen syndromes – faking illness, or inducing it in others, in order to adopt ‘the sick role’.

My research focuses on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries:

  • History of deliberate self-harm, attempted suicide and suicide

  • History of medicine and sociology, especially ideas of ‘the social setting’ in medicine

  • Online health behaviours

  • Munchausen syndromes – including Munchausen syndrome by proxy and Munchausen by internet

  • History of child abuse

  • History of social work

  • History of statistics, especially psychiatric epidemiology, medical statistics and suicide statistics


 ‘“The social”, stress and attempted suicide’ in M. Jackson (ed.) The Stress of Life: Gender, Emotions and Health after the Second World War (forthcoming)

John Turner, Rhodri Hayward, Katherine Angel, K.W.M. Fulford, John Hall, Chris Millard and Mathew Thomson ‘Mental Health Services in England, 1959-2007: An Experiment in Oral History’ History of Psychiatry (under review)

Parity of esteem between mental and physical health BMJ 2014; 349 (2014)

‘Making the cut: the production of “self-harm” in post-1945 Anglo-Saxon psychiatry’ History of the Human Sciences 26(2) (2013): 126-150

‘Reinventing intention: “self-harm” and the “cry for help” in postwar Britain’ Current Opinion in Psychiatry 25(6) (2012): 503-507

Editorial Positions

Reviews assistant at History of the Human Sciences