>> Bethlem Royal Hospital, the world's oldest psychiatric institution, origin of the word bedlam. These days, though, it's increasingly known for the art produced by current and former patients. 20 years ago, a public gallery was set up on the grounds in south London. A venture borne of therapy took on a life of its own.
>> I'm Lucy Fielder reporting for Reuters from Bethlem Gallery. Most of the artists who exhibit here have used mental health services in their lives, but these are no patient daubings. Many are professional artists, and over the last 20 years, the gallery's built up a serious reputation.>> Sarah Carpenter has long used art to soothe and distract herself from her eating disorders.
>> I deconstruct things, and then I put them back together in order to understand them. And often it will be difficult subjects and emotions that I find I'm able to explore in a safer environment through my artwork.>> The gallery's anniversary exhibition includes this map of the artist's brain by Grayson Perry, Bethlem's patron, who has suffered depression.
The hospital, founded in 1247, has moved sites several times. These statues in its museum adorn the old gateposts. Patients are offered use of its studios. Artists and residents often work with them. This artist goes by the name, the vacuum cleaner.>> The text was written the day after Donald Trump had got elected.
So people were saying, Donald Trump's a crazy and he's mad. And I was like, he's not those things, he's just an idiot. And I'm mad, so I don't wanna be associated with this person.>> He has suffered depression, anxiety, and personality disorder, and has worked with patients at Bethlem.
>> Yeah, so I've run workshops here with the patients in the hospital, I've done artist talks. And so I was really excited to come back here for the 20-year anniversary, partly for me because this is a really important space. It's one of the few places in the world that really treats everybody that comes in the door as an artist.
And really invests a lot of time in people's artistic practice.>> It's not just the artists' perceptions that count at Bethlem. By bringing the public in, it hopes to challenge widespread fears of mental health institutions.