publication . Article . 2009

Psychosis and Human Rights: Conflicts in Mental Health Policy and Practice

Helen Spandler; Tim Calton;
Open Access English
  • Published: 01 Apr 2009
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Country: United Kingdom
<jats:p>This paper examines conflicts in polices in England and Wales pertaining to the demand for alternative, non-medical crisis support for those experiencing ‘psychosis’. We examine the limitations of current treatment, policy and legislative frameworks in supporting these demands. In particular, we focus on the limitations of prevailing conceptualisations of ‘human rights’, ‘social inclusion’ and ‘recovery’. These concepts, we argue, are embedded within a broader treatment framework which renders medication as mandatory and all other treatment modalities as inherently subsidiary, and a broader policy framework which is complicit with bio-medical orthodoxies...
free text keywords: L300, Political Science and International Relations, Sociology and Political Science, Sociology, Mental health, Social exclusion, Human rights, media_common.quotation_subject, media_common, Modalities, Legislature, Socioeconomics, Mental illness, medicine.disease, medicine
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1 This paper uses 'psychosis' as a descriptive rather than diagnostic term but accepts that there are problems with its usage. The majority of research in this area has been undertaken around the diagnosis of 'schizophrenia', as it has been a particular target of social and health care policies but the argument potentially applies to any personal experience of 'psychosis' so-called.

2 In 1995 the government introduced supervised discharge which made it possible to apply some degree of coercion in the community. There are wide-spread concerns that the new Mental Health Act (2007) will accelerate this trend through extending compulsory powers further (Mental Health Alliance, 2005).

3 In England and Wales 1999, the Richardson Committee (which was set up to review the 1983 Mental Health Act) recommended that a person with capacity, who posed no risk to others, should be able to refuse treatment for 'mental disorder' (DoH, 1999a). However, this proposal was rejected by the Government (DoH, 1999c). As such, although Scotland and some areas in Canada and Australia include such 'capacity criteria', the new Mental Health Act (2007) does not (Sheehan and Molodynski, 2007).

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