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Mental Health and Deviancy - ‘From Madness to Mental Illness and Back Again’

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  1. Introduction
  2. Lunacy, Madhouses and The 'Tug of war'
  3. The Mental health Act 1983
  4. Care in the community
  5. Dangerous & Severe personality disorders
  6. The New bill & its security centers
  7. Reporting on Medical health
  8. Conclusion

Over the last few centuries, our perception of mental illness has changed considerably, from the view that the ?insane' were a deviant group who needed, for the sake of society, to be controlled and hidden, through the age of psychiatry, medical-ism and cure whereby medicine became an agent of social control who would normalize the ill ready for return into society, to today, where therapy has become the latest trend and emotional states are used readily as currency in certain social circles. What then, has changed our outlook on the mentally ill so drastically, and is this latest therapeutic development the whole picture? It is my belief that still, centuries on from the days of locking up and hiding the mad, the underlying feature of our mental health care provision is the ?secure centre', with the emphasis being put on the idea of ?risk assessment' rather than care, and with the term ?dangerous and severe personality disorder' being used readily, without psychological or medical definition.

[...] Changes in lifestyle and attitudes have somewhat created a flood of emotions to be accepted as part of the norm in out culture. We are depressed. We have stress related illnesses. And we all talk to our therapists. But what has changed over the past century to allow this to happen? According to some, our lives have drastically changed, in many different ways. [...]


[...] In it's report, Placed Among Strangers, the Commission argues that regular visiting very important and is the only way of ensuring the lawfulness of their detention and protecting their rights' especially when it is such a serious interference with a person's civil liberties. Their arguments are given more weight by surveys undertaken by secure hospitals, with 46% of units admitting patients in isolation cannot been seen at all times stating that their facilities are not safe or secure and a huge 77% of units with inadequate standards in their secure rooms.[48] Even without these alarming figures, the fact remains that with its emphasis firmly on secure units and hospitalization, the government is taking action that goes against the grain of recent mental health provision. [...]


[...] But do faster paced lifestyles and trash TV really explain why? There are many who are genuinely new sufferers Oliver James, in his book ?Britain on The Couch' argues that are 45 times more violent than we were in 1950, and quite possibly 10 times more depressed,' but what for the others? Perhaps ?therapy culture' can offer the answer. Therapy culture is a fairly new phenomenon, which is said to offer an explanation of why there is a sudden need to have a psychological problem or condition. [...]


[...] At the time MIND estimated that it would cost £300m to bring the community services up to scratch,[10] but the government's answer was the Community Treatment Order, a debated policy throughout the 1980's and early 1990's. The Community Treatment Order would permit medical treatment for disorder outside of the hospital setting, and therefore overcome the problems of those patients in the community who couldn't or wouldn't continue their medication or treatment it would be compulsory, therefore avoiding the sorts of incidents so often associated with the mentally ill who lived in society. It had many advantages cost, less labelling of patients and the ability for patients to still live among their families safely. [...]


[...] Its aims were very clear to regain legal control over mental health provision and care. There was a desire for a greater control of the professional's power over the patient, and for more safeguards to be in place for the protection of the patient and more importantly society at large. This would come in the form of a legal framework, setting out policy on accountability, detention and treatment, and revising the roles of those in the profession, to ensure appropriate care was administered and received. [...]

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