Mental health social work is at an impasse. On the one hand, the emphasis in recent policy documents on the social roots of much mental distress ,and in the recovery approaches popular with service users seems to indicate an important role for a holistic social work practice. On the other hand, social workers have often been excluded from these initiatives and the dominant approach within mental health continues to be a medical one, albeit supplemented by short-term psychological interventions. In this short form book, part of the Critical and Radical Debates in Social Work series, Jeremy Weinstein draws on case studies and his own experience as a mental health social worker, to develop a model of practice that draws on notions of alienation, anti-discriminatory practice and the need for both workers and service users to find ‘room to breathe’ in an environment shaped by managerialism and marketisation.
Social work and mental health Jeremy Weinstein Introduction: No health without mental health Let us start with the context. An estimated one in four of us will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in our lives. Of the 2.6 million people claiming long-term disability benefits in 2012, 43% had a mental or behavioural disorder. This huge level of suffering comes at a cost: emotional, social and also financial (in 2012, £105 billion per year, a figure expected to double in the next 20 years). These statistics come from the Coalition Government
Focusing on mental health rather than mental illness, this book adopts a lifecourse approach to understanding mental health and wellbeing in later life. Well-respected author and scholar Alisoun Milne explores the influences of lifecourse experiences, structural inequalities, socio-political context, history, gender and age related factors and engages with new ways of thinking about preventing mental ill health and promoting mental health in later life. Drawing together material from a number of different fields, the book analyses the meaning and determinants of mental health among older populations and offers a critical review of the lifecourse, ageing and mental health discourse for students, professionals, policy makers and researchers.
Taking a critical and radical approach, this book calls for a return to mental health social work that has personal relationships and an emotional connection between workers and those experiencing distress at its core.
The optimism that underpinned the development of community care policies has dissipated to be replaced by a form of bleak managerialism. Neoliberalism has added stress to services already under great pressure and created a danger that we could revert to institutional forms of care.
This much-needed book argues that the original progressive values of community care policies need to be rediscovered, updated and reinvigorated to provide a basis for a mental health social work that returns to fundamental notions of dignity and citizenship.
51 THREE Citizenship and mental health Introduction This chapter examines broader notions of citizenship, placing the impact of discrimination against people with mental health problems within this context. It argues that the discrimination that people with mental health problems face amounts to an ongoing denial of the full rights that citizenship should bestow. It then goes on to examine the impact of neoliberal social policy and austerity. These policies in the UK have increased inequality and poverty, which have broader impacts on mental health. In
79 FOUR Contemporary mental health services This chapter will examine some of the key issues in mental health services. One of the most important developments in mental health services is the belated and far from complete recognition of the importance of service user perspectives. The chapter begins by a consideration of these issues and then goes on to examine a range of contemporary concerns within services and mental health social work. Surviving psychiatry Sick role Parsons (1975) identified four main elements to the ‘sick role’. One approach to
141 SIX Health promotion and mental health Introduction Methods of dealing with the problems of mental ill-health have changed considerably in the UK over the past 200 years. The former asylums so prevalent in Victorian times were places not centred on treatment but on containment and even punishment (Scull, 2016). Today, although there are several psychiatric hospitals in the UK, both NHS and independent, the emphasis is on therapeutic approaches towards enabling patients with challenging mental illnesses to return to the community. In England, there are
241 SEVENTEEN Mental health and multiple exclusions Claire Luscombe Introduction Throughout history, health (or, more specifically, poor health) and exclusion have been intrinsically linked. From the leper, to those inflicted with venereal disease, to the mad confined to ‘Ships of fools’, to the poor and the homeless, ‘the game of exclusion’, as Foucault (1972: 6) called it, has linked these two concepts, with the result that over the centuries, people have been confined in buildings or places where they all have been treated in ‘oddly similar fashion
0 five Mental health Introduction Mental health is an integral part of overall health and well-being. It has many definitions but is generally described as a “positive sense of well-being and a belief in our own worth and the worth of others” (HEA, 1997, p 2). Having positive mental health means being able to live life to its full potential, to be able to cope with change, the ability to understand and make sense of surroundings. This important aspect of overall health shapes life experiences and is something that individuals, groups and communities aspire
Police officers deal with mental illness-related incidents on an almost daily basis. Ian Cummins explores how factors such as deinstitutionalisation, community care failings and, more recently, welfare retrenchment policies have led to this situation. He then considers how police officers should be supported by community mental health agencies to make confident and correct decisions, and to ensure that the individuals they encounter receive support from the most appropriate services.
Of interest to police researchers and students of criminology and the social sciences, the book examines police officers’ views on mental health work and includes a chapter by a service user.