Social Perspectives in Mental Health: Developing Social Models to Understand and Work with Mental Distress

By Jerry Tew | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Core Themes of Social
Perspectives
Jerry TewOver recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the social aspects of mental health, both in terms of seeking to understand what may contribute to mental distress, and what forms of support and intervention may be most helpful in assisting people to reclaim meaningful and socially valued lives (Duggan, 2002; Karban, 2003). This interest has come from users, their families, friends and allies, and from practitioners and academics from across the spectrum of mental health disciplines. This has been reflected in government policy initiatives such as the National Service Framework (Department of Health, 1999), strategies and guidance for services for women, Black and ethnic minorities, and for personality disorder (Department of Health, 2003a, 2003b, 2003c), and a wider recognition that mental health should figure within the overall social inclusion agenda (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2004).Although currently topical, there is nothing new about social perspectives – in different ways, understanding the interrelation of 'mental distress' and 'problems of living' is something that has been on the agenda of
sociology – for example, studying the impact of poverty, discrimination and social labelling on mental distress
psychology and psychotherapy – for example, exploring links between trauma and mental distress
social work – focus on anti-oppressive practice and empowerment
social psychiatry and behavioural family therapy – for example, looking at 'expressed emotion' and communication in families

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