Contemporary public perceptions of psychiatry: some problems for mental health professions

Jeremy Dixon, Dirk Richter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Social constructionist critiques of psychiatry have primarily focussed on the function of diagnosis for society. Less attention has been paid to the diverse ways that service users and carers have come to construct mental disorder. Social movements led by service users / survivors, have worked to contest biomedical models whilst carer groups have campaigned for a greater emphasis on biomedicine. However, population based research reveals a more complex picture, indicating that whilst public acceptance of biomedicine has grown, the public continue to see mental disorder as being highly influenced by social factors and display a high degree of ambivalence towards psychiatric treatment. Through focussing on debates in psychiatry, social work and nursing in the UK we argue that public perceptions have particular consequences for the mental health professions. Specifically, they impact on the way that professionals can present themselves as holding a specialist knowledge base. Professional mental health workers therefore needs to be transparent about the assumptions and limitations of psychiatric knowledge and base therapeutic decisions around the way in which service users and carers construct mental disorder.
LanguageEnglish
Pages326-341
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Theory & Health
Volume16
Issue number4
Early online date12 Dec 2017
DOIs
StatusPublished - 30 Nov 2018

Fingerprint

Health Occupations
mental disorder
psychiatry
Psychiatry
Mental Health
biomedicine
profession
mental health
Mental Disorders
Caregivers
Knowledge Bases
psychiatric treatment
ambivalence
Social Movements
social factors
social work
nursing
acceptance
Social Work
Survivors

Keywords

  • Mental Health
  • Organisation of health services
  • Profession and professionalism
  • Theory

Cite this

Contemporary public perceptions of psychiatry: some problems for mental health professions. / Dixon, Jeremy; Richter, Dirk.

In: Social Theory & Health, Vol. 16, No. 4, 30.11.2018, p. 326-341.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{becd38c2184a43bfa60ba0f73f985fe8,
title = "Contemporary public perceptions of psychiatry: some problems for mental health professions",
abstract = "Social constructionist critiques of psychiatry have primarily focussed on the function of diagnosis for society. Less attention has been paid to the diverse ways that service users and carers have come to construct mental disorder. Social movements led by service users / survivors, have worked to contest biomedical models whilst carer groups have campaigned for a greater emphasis on biomedicine. However, population based research reveals a more complex picture, indicating that whilst public acceptance of biomedicine has grown, the public continue to see mental disorder as being highly influenced by social factors and display a high degree of ambivalence towards psychiatric treatment. Through focussing on debates in psychiatry, social work and nursing in the UK we argue that public perceptions have particular consequences for the mental health professions. Specifically, they impact on the way that professionals can present themselves as holding a specialist knowledge base. Professional mental health workers therefore needs to be transparent about the assumptions and limitations of psychiatric knowledge and base therapeutic decisions around the way in which service users and carers construct mental disorder.",
keywords = "Mental Health, Organisation of health services, Profession and professionalism, Theory",
author = "Jeremy Dixon and Dirk Richter",
year = "2018",
month = "11",
day = "30",
doi = "10.1057/s41285-017-0059-9",
language = "English",
volume = "16",
pages = "326--341",
journal = "Social Theory & Health",
issn = "1477-8211",
publisher = "Palgrave Macmillan",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Contemporary public perceptions of psychiatry: some problems for mental health professions

AU - Dixon, Jeremy

AU - Richter, Dirk

PY - 2018/11/30

Y1 - 2018/11/30

N2 - Social constructionist critiques of psychiatry have primarily focussed on the function of diagnosis for society. Less attention has been paid to the diverse ways that service users and carers have come to construct mental disorder. Social movements led by service users / survivors, have worked to contest biomedical models whilst carer groups have campaigned for a greater emphasis on biomedicine. However, population based research reveals a more complex picture, indicating that whilst public acceptance of biomedicine has grown, the public continue to see mental disorder as being highly influenced by social factors and display a high degree of ambivalence towards psychiatric treatment. Through focussing on debates in psychiatry, social work and nursing in the UK we argue that public perceptions have particular consequences for the mental health professions. Specifically, they impact on the way that professionals can present themselves as holding a specialist knowledge base. Professional mental health workers therefore needs to be transparent about the assumptions and limitations of psychiatric knowledge and base therapeutic decisions around the way in which service users and carers construct mental disorder.

AB - Social constructionist critiques of psychiatry have primarily focussed on the function of diagnosis for society. Less attention has been paid to the diverse ways that service users and carers have come to construct mental disorder. Social movements led by service users / survivors, have worked to contest biomedical models whilst carer groups have campaigned for a greater emphasis on biomedicine. However, population based research reveals a more complex picture, indicating that whilst public acceptance of biomedicine has grown, the public continue to see mental disorder as being highly influenced by social factors and display a high degree of ambivalence towards psychiatric treatment. Through focussing on debates in psychiatry, social work and nursing in the UK we argue that public perceptions have particular consequences for the mental health professions. Specifically, they impact on the way that professionals can present themselves as holding a specialist knowledge base. Professional mental health workers therefore needs to be transparent about the assumptions and limitations of psychiatric knowledge and base therapeutic decisions around the way in which service users and carers construct mental disorder.

KW - Mental Health

KW - Organisation of health services

KW - Profession and professionalism

KW - Theory

U2 - 10.1057/s41285-017-0059-9

DO - 10.1057/s41285-017-0059-9

M3 - Article

VL - 16

SP - 326

EP - 341

JO - Social Theory & Health

T2 - Social Theory & Health

JF - Social Theory & Health

SN - 1477-8211

IS - 4

ER -