The World Health Organisation newly published guidance for community mental health urges an end to forced treatment and the adoption of person-centred and rights-based services.
“My experience of psychiatry is, you’re not treated as an individual. You are asked a battery of pre-prepared questions and they try and control your life. Keeping talking about it helps me,” said Chris. I said, “I just wonder what would make you feel heard so you could enjoy life more.”
The report concludes that institutional practices are insufficient to guarantee the safety of patients who undergo electroconvulsive therapy.
The steering group shared a basic philosophy: a holistic, psychosocial approach to mental health, drawing on social constructionist and feminist ideas, on work highlighting the links between trauma and mental health, and on the service user/survivor movement.
Although modern treatments can effectively subdue some of the more extreme manifestations of madness, they obscure the underlying functions that mental health services undoubtedly still serve. And if we wish to think about how to address the problems posed by mental disturbance in the most rational, economical and humanitarian way, we need to keep those functions at the front of our minds.