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. 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. [...]
[...] ‘Since moral treatment began to work, the medical profession had to find a way to accommodate it.' The medical profession therefore, began to take the practice of moral therapy on board, and due to their status in society and better organisation, it became known to be part of their general expertise, leaving the lay persons who had created it far behind. Legally, the treatment of the insane lay in the medical professions' hands. With the Victorian age came the birth of the Asylum, which replaced the now redundant Madhouse. These institutions were purpose built, in that they took into consideration architecture and design to help with treatment. [...]
[...] George Best, Nick Hornby and many others can be added to this list of the depressed, therapy hungry celebrities we have come to love. What is perhaps more alarming are the IT girls and models, in and out of drug rehabilitation, and in and out of magazines like ‘Hello' and the tabloids telling their story for large sums, and placing themselves in the minds of the public, if only for a second. Reality TV programmes expand this further, with people confessing all sorts on television, having breakdowns and then coming out into the ‘real world' with job and money offers (Tara Palmer-Tomkinson being a recent example of this). [...]
[...] In fact mental health charity MIND surveyed 515 people suffering from mental illness in 2000 and their report ‘Counting the Cost' does not make for positive reading of sufferers felt coverage of mental health issues was unfair and unbalanced, over half felt that the coverage had negative effects on their own health felt more withdrawn and isolated and said that the coverage in the press made them feel suicidal - these are disturbing statistics indeed. The main messages from this report were that the media does not have a balanced coverage, reinforces stigma, has a negative impact on mental health and perpetuates social exclusion. However, television has been blamed for the manufacture of mental illness as well recent television programmes such as Girls' and ‘Footballer's Wives' have graphically depicted self harm, suicide and drug abuse which has caused serious concern over how far this can affect the minds of the vulnerable public. [...]
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