Psychosis – Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

Perhaps the best resource for teaching about bipolar disorder is the 1994 film The Madness of King George. King George III lived the latter years of his life with bipolar disorder, he died aged 81 having been subjected to much ridicule and numerous ineffective treatments including arsenic and gentian. His episodes of madness were often framed as a joke but as one of his doctors, Willis reported ‘The King was low and cried, such was the depression of his spirit’ his symptoms were far from humorous. The film is a poignant reminder that anyone can suffer from mental ill health even a powerful King.

Other films

A Beautiful Mind (2001) A portrayal of mathematician John Nash’s experience of schizophrenia and the impact of his illness on family, friends and colleagues.

Horror movies There is much discussion in medical humanities communities about the use of horror movies in teaching about severe mental illness and psychosis. It’s a genre of film I find difficult to watch much to the amusement of my family so I’m not able to make any good recommendations but it’s something you could easily Google.


Take a look at the work of these artists:


Diseases I have known – Schizophrenia Glen Colquhoun

Published by Hammersmith Press Ltd (own photo)


Notes From an Exhibition Patrick Gale The story of  a genius, a loving wife and parent, a faithful friend but a woman also tormented by bi-polar disorder and driven by an artistic compulsion – often barely distinguishable from her mental illness – to damage all who try to love and protect her.

Is There No Place on Earth for Me Susan Sheeha (recommended by @doctorsbookshelf)

Diary of a Mad Man Nikolai Gogol The main character in Gogol’s book develops grandiose delusions that he is the King of Spain.

The One Paul Reed The authors own experiences of schizophrenia

Spider Patrick McGrath A first-person account of schizophrenia.

Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold- Evelyn Waugh A fictional story about a character who develops psychosis.

The Illustrated Mum Jaqueline Wilson The effect on two young girls of having a mum with bipolar disorder. Written as a children’s book but just as interesting as an adult read.

Created January 2023