Stuart Sorensen, a mental health nurse and trainer, posted a blog entry about how we understand schizophrenia last month on our Social Care Experts Blog. The post has generated some interesting comments, one of which, by Bob White, particularly caught my eye.
“Lots of people seem to be having this same debate over and over- isntit time to get down and dirty through a large scale public debate? As someone relatively new to working in the field of mental health itappears to me a former psychiatric consensus has been replaced byconfusion and debate within mental health professions as evidenceemerges of the far greater significance of psychological trauma and theeffectiveness of “talking” therapies in treating mental disorders…”
It seems to me that there does exist some confusion, or at least a state of active debate about what is the best way to respond to serious mental health problems.
The anti-psychiatry movement has been around since the 60s and seems to have been absorbed into a wider mad pride movement, as illustrated by this recent piece in Newsweek, which I discovered via Furious Seasons, who describes the psychiatric model as a “crumbling paradigm”.
But if the paradigm is crumbling what does that leave us with? Is it possible to bring all the elements together and rigorously analyse the different approaches? Both Bob and Stuart accept that drugs have a role but can we define that role? The messages espoused by user groups such as the Icarus Project will be reaching workers on the ground, who also have to take into account the official advice of the medical profession. So perhaps confusion is inevitable – but it can’t make the job of working in mental health any easier.
As Bob White comments:
“What works to increase greater meaningful recovery? That’s what I want to know so I can practice and sleep at night!”
Can anyone help?