Thomas Szasz

Thomas Szasz died on September 8, at the age of 92. He made a major contribution to the way we view psychiatry and mental illness. Along with David Rosenhan (‘Sane in Insane Places’) and psychiatrist Ronald Laing, Szasz was seen as part of the anti-psychiatry movement of the 1960s, However Szasz felt ‘anti-psychiatry’ was just another label – much like the label ‘mental illness’, and labels oversimplify things. He is particularly known for his book The Myth of Mental Illness in which he argued that it is wrong to label ‘problems people have with living’ as ‘mental illnesses’. The label mental illness is similar to calling some people witches. Neither labels are real; they are human inventions and only obscure our true understanding of the problems that some people have.