Serious Mental Health Problems in the Community: Policy, Practice, and Research

By Charlie Brooker; Julie Repper | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 1
Serious Mental Health
Problems in the
Community

The Significance of Policy,
Practice and Research

Julie Repper and Charlie Brooker

The 1990s mark a period of unprecedented attention on people who have serious mental health problems. Shifts in the location of mental health services have raised ongoing questions about what their function should now be and the increased visibility of people with mental health problems has led to paradoxical public views — with widespread concern and sympathy coexisting with fear and opposition to local mental health facilities. The growing voice of service users and their families has drawn attention to the rights of people with mental health problems and their potential role in planning, providing and evaluating services. A synthesis of biological explanations of mental illness with an increased understanding of psychological and social factors has given rise to new ways of working which are supported by increasingly rigorous research.

The broad policy context of health care has provided a backdrop to this activity, but has also been coloured by it. With the health service reforms, the introduction of the internal market is driving the development of adequate needs assessment tools for this population. Also, as the importance of collaboration between different purchasing bodies, and between purchasers and providers has become apparent, so specific policy for people with serious mental health problems has been introduced to ensure that mechanisms for monitoring and review are in place. The focus on this population is also reflected in the NHS Research and Development (R&D) policy: mental health was the first priority

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