The Scottish Recovery Network recently called for a complete rethink on mental health care and in particular with regard to legislation. They have argued that,
“To date, Scotland’s mental health laws have been recognised as progressively rights-based compared to many others around the world. However SRN believes this respected position is threatened unless we take the opportunity to engage in a much wider review of how our national laws reflect and respond to the changing legal and policy landscape.
Scotland is becoming an increasingly rights-based, recovery oriented nation….The law needs to better reflect and progress person-centred, strengths-based policy and practice that is already taking shape in Scotland and beyond.
Recovery seeks to achieve the best personal outcomes for all – people with lived experience and practitioners – and our laws can play a guiding role in achieving this.” [SRN 2014]
Creativity and Mental Health
With the emphasis shifting away from illness and diagnosis and towards a focus on positive health, strength building and recovery of well-being, it is time to push for a complete overhaul of the whole idea of mental health ‘treatment’ and ‘care’. A more refreshing picture would entail integrated services that recognise a central role for creative activity and social support in the lives of all humans, most especially when we are stressed, alienated, cognitively overwhelmed or in an otherwise vulnerable state. Those two factors emerge clearly from many qualitative and quantitative studies of service users’ perspectives and, furthermore, are even more effective when a dedicated place or site is available in which to gather on a regular basis.
It has, in fact, been demonstrated that given enough information, support and appropriate cultural conditions, people in the throes of extreme experience can and do navigate a course towards re-instating their well-being, indeed this could be thought of as creative recovery, a form of self-actualisation. No longer is it acceptable to write off people with severe mental health issues as ‘unsuitable’ for psychotherapeutic approaches. One UK study demonstrated that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy helped fifty percent of unmedicated participants to significantly reduce their psychotic experiences.
I recently reflected here on new developments in mental health in Ireland, much of which resonates with the work and approaches taken by the Scottish Recovery Network cited here, as well as with many commentators and activists in the UK such as Dr Joanna Moncrieff and in the US through informative and radical bloggers at Beyond Meds and Mad in America.
Rethinking Mental Health
An upcoming book by Professor Peter Kinderman at the University of Liverpool looks and sounds very exciting and resonates with my own current publication. Keep an eye out for A Prescription for Psychiatry coming soon.