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Journal article

English mental health policy under New Labour

Authors:
PILGRIM David, RAMON Shulamit
Journal article citation:
Policy and Politics, 37(2), April 2009, pp.273-288.
Publisher:
Policy Press

This article reviews the changes in mental health policy in England under the jurisdiction of New Labour governments between 1997 and 2007. These are considered in relation to recurring policy questions about: the structures and processes involved in responding to mental health problems; professional jurisdiction for mental health problems; the conditions under which mental disorder should be lawfully controlled; links with wider health and welfare policy changes; and the enhancement of mental health in the population. Distinctions are made in the analysis between continuities about this policy agenda and the particular features linked to the period under consideration, initiated or responded to by government.

Journal article

Defining mental disorder: tautology in the service of sanity in British mental health legislation

Author:
PILGRIM David
Journal article citation:
Journal of Mental Health, 14(5), October 2005, pp.435-443.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare
Place of publication:
London

Recently the British government has issued a Draft Mental Health Bill, which offers a definition of mental disorder. The authors analyse this definition in logical and empirical terms. It is also contrasted with previous struggles in the professional literature to provide a cogent and credible definition of mental disorder. Socio-historical forces are described relevant to this current lack of clarity and credibility. They argue that all efforts to date to define mental disorder have been flawed on a number of counts. The concept of mental disorder is of dubious scientific validity but it has a substantial political utility for several social groups who are sane by mutual agreement.

Journal article

Risk, trust and the myth of mental health services

Authors:
VASSILEV Ivaylo, PILGRIM David
Journal article citation:
Journal of Mental Health, 16(3), June 2007, pp.347-357.
Publisher:
Informa Healthcare
Place of publication:
London

Strictly "mental health" should, as its name suggests, be about health, yet there is now a global discourse about "mental health" which actually alludes mainly to the clinical, organizational and legal aspects of managing mental disorder. Indeed, "mental health" law deals with the conditions under which people diagnosed with mental disorder can be lawfully compelled to accept treatment. This paradoxical use of language requires further examination. The paper aims to problematize the taken for granted notion of "mental health services". It draws upon general sociological work on "risk" and "trust". The trustworthiness of ordinary language accounts and professional codifications are considered before examining the sociological implications of the controversy about the abuse of psychiatry. The risks to and from patients in routine mental health work, and the betrayal of trust as both a normal part of care and its corruption in mental health work are outlined. The paper concludes that "mental health services" are a myth in as much as they are mostly concerned with mental disorder and control (at least to the bulk of identified patients which form the focus of their activity).

Journal article

Intersectionality, mental health and Chinese people in the UK: a qualitative exploration

Authors:
TANG Lynn, PILGRIM David
Journal article citation:
Mental Health Review Journal, 22(4), 2017, pp.289-299.
Publisher:
Emerald

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide qualitative evidence from the experience of Chinese service users in the UK to expand the literature on the use of intersectionality analysis in research on the mental health of ethnic minority groups. Design/methodology/approach: Repeated in-depth life-history interviews were carried out with 22 participants. Interviews were analysed using the constant comparative method. Findings: Four areas of life are identified for their possible negative impact on mental health for this minority group: labour market and work conditions, marriage and family, education, and ageing. The findings illustrate how these intersecting variables may shape the social conditions this ethnic minority group face. For this ethnic minority group in the UK, inequalities can intersect at national as well as transnational level. Originality/value: This paper highlights how power relations and structural inequalities including class, gender, age and ethnicity could be drawn upon to understand the interplay of determinants of mental health for ethnic minority groups. As the multi-factorial social forces are closely related to the emergence of poor mental health, it is suggested that interventions to reduce mental health problems in ethnic minority communities should be multi-level and not limited to individualised service responses. (Publisher abstract)

Book

Key concepts in mental health

Author:
PILGRIM David
Publisher:
Sage
Publication year:
2010
Pagination:
216p.
Place of publication:
London
Edition:
2nd ed.

Drawing together perspectives from sociology, psychiatry, psychology and ethics, this book aims to cover the central concepts and debates shaping contemporary views about mental health and illness. It covers theories and understandings of mental health and mental health problems, the structure and organisation of mental health service delivery, and the social context of mental health. It is designed for student and trainee health professionals, including clinical psychologists, social workers, nurses, counsellors and psychotherapists.

Book

Key concepts in mental health

Author:
PILGRIM David
Publisher:
Sage
Publication year:
2005
Pagination:
204p.
Place of publication:
London

This book provides a guide to the central topics and debates which shape contemporary views about mental health and illness and which govern the provision of services for people with mental health problems. The fifty concepts featured in this book are examined through a multidisciplinary lens, drawing together perspectives from  sociology, psychology, psychiatry and ethics. Part One examines the contested nature of mental health and mental health problems and includes traditional psychiatric descriptions, as well as rehearsed criticisms of them. Part Two focuses on mental health services, the ways in which mental health work is organized and the professional interests involved in service delivery. Part Three addresses a range of topics related to mental health and society, and places mental health within its social context.

Journal article

Causes and consequences

Author:
PILGRIM David
Journal article citation:
Mental Health Today, November 2004, pp.24-26.
Publisher:
Pavilion
Place of publication:
Hove

Asks why psychiatric wards are disproportionately populated by the poorest. Research on mental health and inequality generally focuses on the roles of mental health services and of psychiatry and psychiatric professionals; and social and environmental influences. The interaction of the 3 bodies of knowledge must be examined. If public policy is to be effective it cannot be limited to mental health legislation and specialist services but must address warfare, domestic violence, child abuse, substance misuse, poverty and public participation in health and social care. Services should turn from biological preoccupations and examine how they can reverse the social exclusion of people with mental health problems.

Journal article

Who cares?

Author:
PILGRIM David
Journal article citation:
Open Mind, 98, July 1999, pp.14-15.
Publisher:
MIND

The author advocates abandoning the label 'carer' and gives his reasons why.

Journal article

Lessons from the Mental Health Act Commission for England and Wales: the limitations of legalism-plus-safeguards

Author:
PILGRIM David
Journal article citation:
Journal of Social Policy, 41(1), January 2012, pp.61-81.
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Place of publication:
Cambridge

The Mental Health Act Commission for England and Wales was closed down in 2009. This article uses data from its final report to provide a snapshot between social group membership and mental health status in modern society. The focus of the report was on race, gender and age in settings that have become more coercive and less therapeutic over time. This article uses some aspects of the report to discuss the implications of lawful psychiatric coercion being predicted by social group membership. The work of the Commission furnished useful information in this regard, but its framework for data collection could not illuminate a more established picture of the class gradient in mental health problems. This article considers how material adversity may explain the racial patterning of coercively detained psychiatric populations, and how normative aspects of risk-taking in the community and in hospital may explain the findings on age and gender. The article concludes by querying the ameliorative impact of government appointed ‘visitorial’ bodies. It argues that legalism-plus-safeguards is a questionable basis for meaningfully bringing discriminatory powers to book, or for reversing the differential impact of pathogenic social forces.

Book

A sociology of mental health and illness

Authors:
ROGERS Ann, PILGRIM David
Publisher:
Open University Press
Publication year:
2005
Pagination:
269p., bibliog.
Place of publication:
Maidenhead
Edition:
3rd ed.

The revised edition of this best-selling book provides a clear overview of the major aspects of the sociology of mental health and illness. As well as drawing upon a range of social theories and methods to illustrate its points, it provides the reader with information which is organized along dimensions of class, gender, race and age. The mental health professions are critically analysed and long standing debates about the role of legalism explored. Organizational aspects of psychiatry are examined as well as the growing relevance of community mental health work. The book ends with a discussion of the various ways in which psychiatric patients and their relatives can be understood in their social context.

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