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The issue of mental health came up recently with this question about treating mental illness with magic. The only conclusion there that applies here is that most mental health issues are not treatable by magic.

The closest instance I can think of in the magical world of mental health issues is the case of Gilderoy Lockhart, who loses his memory (when he was trying to take memories from Ron and Harry). He is a permanent resident in the Janus Thickey ward on the fourth floor of St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. The fourth floor is for spell damage and the Janus Thickey Ward is for long term residence.

Other than this, there seems to be no references to treatment for mental health issues. But, as I've mentioned in other posts, it's always possible J. K. Rowling has made comments on this somewhere.

Is there any information on how mental health issues are dealt with in the magical world?

  • There was the rest of the ward too - Neville's parents, Broderick Bode. – Kevin Feb 1 '12 at 3:58
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There's nothing canonical and JKR search has nothing on "mental" that's relevant, aside from what you already discovered about Long Term Sickness ward:

'...Of course, with intensive remedial potions and charms and a bit of luck, we can produce some improvement. Gilderoy does seem to be getting back some sense of himself; and we've seen a real improvement in Mr Bode, he seems to be regaining the power of speech very well, though he isn't speaking any language we recognise yet.' (OotP)


However, it seems that they ought to be able to treat at least SOME issues using magical techniques from canon, none of which JKR actually demonstrated :

  • Memory removal. As shown by Dumbledore with Pensieve, a person can choose to remove ANY memory/thought permanently from their brain:

    "This? It is called a Pensieve," said Dumbledore. "I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind."
    "Er," said Harry, who couldn't truthfully say that he had ever felt anything of the sort.
    "At these times," said Dumbledore, indicating the stone basin, "I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one's leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form."
    "You mean…that stuff's your thoughts?" Harry said, staring at the swirling white substance in the basin.

    The ability to remove a specific thought/memory can cure a lot of issues that have conscious underpinnings.

  • Ability to examine the patient's memories/thoughts - either via Pensieve (as others can view those, ala Harry watching memories in both Dumbledore's and Snape's Pensieves), or via Legilimency:

    Harry Potter: "You mean if he knows about it, then he'll be able to read my mind?"
    Severus Snape: "Read it..."

    This ability would be extremely useful for any kind of therapy.

  • Ability to affect others' mind/thought via Legilimency. In the same Snape quote from above, he continues:

    "Read it, control it, unhinge it. In the past it was often the Dark Lord's pleasure to invade the minds of his victims, creating visions designed to torture them into madness."

    I don't think this needs elaboration on its usefulness for treatment.

  • All sorts of Memory charms, that Gilderoy Lockhart was so gifted at.

    Same as the first bullet about Pensieve.

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There is very little canon dealing with the treatment of mentally ill witches or wizards. It seems, strictly based on canon, that there are spells and isolation used.

There are Shock Spells which are used to treat mental illness.

‘This one’s from a bloke who thinks you’re off your rocker,’ said Ron, glancing down his letter. ‘Ah well ...’

‘This woman recommends you try a good course of Shock Spells at St Mungo’s,’ said Hermione, looking disappointed and crumpling up a second.

Order of the Phoenix - chapter 26 - Seen and Unforeseen

Also, a link to the HP Lexicon's spell syllabary.

The two areas of St. Mungo's that would likely treat mental illness are . . . well, there's mainly one: Spell Damages on the fourth floor, which deals with unliftable jinxes, hexes, incorrectly applied charms, etc. If a person were mentally ill enough to not know who they were or where they were, the welcomewitch could help direct them: If you are unsure where to go, incapable of normal speech, or unable to remember why you are here, our welcomewitch will be pleased to help you. Order of the Phoenix - chapter 22 - St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries

[The Dumbledores' father] never said why he’d done it, because if the Ministry had known what Ariana had become, she’d have been locked up in St Mungo’s for good. They’d have seen her as a serious threat to the International Statute of Secrecy, unbalanced like she was, with magic exploding out of her at moments when she couldn’t keep it in any longer. We had to keep her safe, and quiet. We moved house, put it about she was ill, and my mother looked after her, and tried to keep her calm and happy.

Deathly Hallows - Chapter 28 - The Missing Mirror

Unfortunately, it seems as if mental illness is as stigmatized in the wizarding world as it is in the Muggle world. Based on what we see, individuals with mental illness and brain damage are kept on a locked ward in St. Mungo's and treated with a variety of spells and TLC. Shock Spells are also available and if they're analagous to Electro Convulsive Therapy (i.e. Muggle shock treatment) they may be helpful.

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