Academic journal article Care Management Journals

Mental Health at the Crossroads: The Promise of the Psychosocial Approach

Academic journal article Care Management Journals

Mental Health at the Crossroads: The Promise of the Psychosocial Approach

Article excerpt

MENTAL HEALTH AT THE CROSSROADS: THE PROMISE OF THE PSYCHOSOCIAL APPROACH Shulamit Ramon and Janet E. Williams (Eds.) Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2005, 235 pp., $99.95 (hardcover).

One afternoon in 1999, Kendra Webdale waited on the platform of a Manhattan subway stop; a train was about to arrive in the station. The events of moments later (a push onto the tracks, Kendra's death) set into motion the process that culminated in New York state legislation to assure effective assisted outpatient treatment of persons with mental illness who, on the basis of previous behavior, are considered a risk to themselves or to others in the community. Although Mental Health at the Crossroads does not refer to Kendra's Law, the notion of individual, risk, and community motivate the contributors to this carefully written and generously edited volume. Mostly sociologists and psychologists researchers, and largely non-American English speaking, the authors take up the clarion call of Thomas Szasz (The Myth of Mental Illness) and David Cooper (Reason and Violence]-not necessarily to align themselves with "antipsychiatry," but rather, it would seem, to open a dialogue intended to temper rigid orthodoxy with an admixture of social psychology. In the early years of the 21st century, we are at a point of choice.

The contributors to this book are impressively cosmopolitan (British, Irish, Australian, Italian, Brazilian) yet present cohesively the view that psychiatry has become dominated during the last 30 years by the biomedical model, usurping the primacy of the analytic work of Freud and the post-Freudians, and sprouting from the biochemical implications of modern psychopharmacology. …

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