Working with Mental Illness

By Derek Tilbury.
ISBN 0 333 94733 9

This is the second edition of a book first published in 1993. It
has been brought up to date with material on recent social policy
and reflecting on practice changes over the last decade. There is
material on social inclusion, service user and carer involvement,
joint working between local authorities and health, culturally
sensitive services, advocacy and public protection. Unfortunately,
in a book this short it is not possible to address any of these
areas in depth and readers will need to look elsewhere for a fuller

The definition of mental illness is established in the first
chapter and is limited to what the author identifies as psychoses.
There is some discussion later in the book about medical versus
social models but this is not a major area of strength in the text.
The book contains a number of practice examples and is fairly
prescriptive in that much of the material is based around axioms
for practice. After a brief examination of psychiatry, chapters
include “working with the sufferer” in terms of axioms such as
helping the person keep in touch with reality and relating to the
person rather than the symptoms. This gives a feel of the approach
which some, but not all, may find helpful.

Robert Brown is head of approved social work training
programmes in Hampshire, south London and south west England. He is
also a Mental Health Act commissioner.

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