The world’s oldest psychiatric institution – the South London and Maudsley (SLaM) – opens its doors in a brand series, challenging the myths, taboos and stigma around mental illness in Britain. At Lambeth Hospital in south London, the Trust has pioneered the use of short-stay emergency wards for patients in crisis. It’s effectively run like A and E but for those with mental illness. Cameras are granted access for the first time to a world where critical decisions about risk are taken every day by psychiatrists and nurses. It works like a sorting office. Over the course of a few days clinicians assess patients and decide whether they are stable enough to return home or whether they need to go on to a longer stay psychiatric ward. Most patients are considered a danger to themselves or others and have either been sectioned under the powers of the Mental Health Act or have come in voluntarily.