According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), 4% of adults experience a serious mental illness within a given year and 1 in 5 adults over 18 will experience mental illness over the course of their lifetime. Mental illness has existed since the beginning of human history, yet social response has varied enormously over time and by culture. Some cultures revere the mentally ill to this day and often, perception in the western world has focused on the interplay of religion and the need for conformity within industrialized societies. Hippocrates was the first to formulate theories of madness based on the functioning of the body. During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the mentally ill were thought to be possessed by demons, often persecuted and executed as witches. The Enlightenment and Industrial Age brought great variations in treatment between rich and poor, urban and rural. In modern times, approaches have included the psychological, sociocultural, the humanitarian, the search for meaning, and the current emphasis on neuro-science. Come join us as we explore mental illness and its role in the human experience. Our focus will be a snapshot of the historical and cultural perceptions of mental illness across human history.