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

By Jerry Tew | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Beyond Biomedical Models
A Perspective from Critical Psychiatry

Duncan Double


The Critical Psychiatry Network

The Critical Psychiatry Network (CPN) first met as the 'Bradford Group' in January 1999. It is a group of psychiatrists that forms a network to develop a critique of the contemporary psychiatric system.

The first meetings of the group coincided with publication of the UK government's intention to undertake a root and branch review of the Mental Health Act 1983. The initial phase of this review involved a scoping exercise, undertaken by a small expert group chaired by Professor Genevra Richardson, to which CPN submitted evidence. CPN has also responded at each stage of the subsequent consultation process leading to the draft Mental Health Bill 2002.

CPN's position statement in October 1999 made clear its opposition to compulsory treatment in the community, and preventive detention for people who are considered to have 'personality disorders'. A new response to the conflict between care and coercion was proposed that recognised the way values inform medical decisions. This ethical perspective resists attempts to make psychiatry more coercive.

CPN was an original member of the Mental Health Alliance, a coalition of organisations that share common concerns about the government's proposals to reform the Mental Health Act. The core members have subsequently been joined by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, but initially CPN was the only group of psychiatrists that was part of the alliance.

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