• Question: Do the characters of winnie the pooh each represent a different mental illness?

    Asked by 366reaq24 to Sally, James, David, Dan on 14 Mar 2019.
    • Photo: James Munro

      James Munro answered on 14 Mar 2019:

      Hey, great question!

      No. The author did not intend for them to represent different mental illnesses – remember it was first written many years ago when our understanding of mental illness was not as good as it is now.

      The reason this idea exists is because of a light-hearted paper written by Sarah Shea where she used the characters as an example. you can read more about this here: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/winnie-the-pooh-mental-disorders/


    • Photo: Sally Tilt

      Sally Tilt answered on 14 Mar 2019:

      I like this question – as you’re raising a topic which is quite a juicy in our field at the moment – which is whether it makes sense to think of mental illnesses as separate categories. Traditionally we have used diagnostic criteria to decide if a person has a mental illness. Some people now think that this is an unhelpful way to think of mental health. If you think of personality disorders – it is likely the case that for each area that we think of as a disorder, it is really a continuum, and we would all fall somewhere along the continuum. Likewise there is overlap between the disorders, and so some people fall into more than one at the same time. An alternative approach would be to start with the individual person, and to explore what the factors are that seem to be causing problems for them, and to work out what the story is for that person which has led them to that point.

      Actually, in my view this would probably fit better with the characters in Winnie the Pooh – they probably were not intended to represent specific mental illnesses – AA Milne was more likely representing interesting personality characteristics which made good characters. Like the characters, we are all the sum of our background stories – and each of us is unique.

    • Photo: David Chadwick

      David Chadwick answered on 15 Mar 2019:

      Sorry I cannot answer this one, it is beyond my knowledge. If you had asked “can winnie the pooh’s computer be hacked” then I could have answered that 🙂