Monday, April 2, 2012

"Mental health care: designed for evil"

Mental health care: designed for evil

The following is a storified version of events that led up to the way mental health care is organised in the UK today. It should be familiar to all mental health professionals, and shows, I hope, just how evil - and I do not use the word lightly - care provision truly has become.

Institutional care brings to mind horrific scenes. Whether it's the iatrogenic madness of Crispina at the end of The Magdalene Sisters, gossip about the Rosenhan experiment, Broadmoor, or a fondness for Foucault, mental health institutions bring to most people's minds padded walls, straitjackets, isolation, forced injections and unheard screams.

The truth, in some institutions, was certainly not very different from this, and many were the rich families who felt it too cruel to let relatives rot there as if imprisoned. Their alternative though, was the provision of private nurses working in the home, and as this was expensive it was the privilege of a select few. Institutions were expensive, too, for the state - more so even than prisons. And so the dream of mental health care outside internment grew as the number of institutions grew, in some circles because of love, in others because of profit.

Enter Roy Griffiths. Griffiths made his bones in Monsanto (director, 1964-68) and then Sainsbury’s (1968-91), and naturally, this gave him uniquely brilliant insight into mental healthcare. Thatcher had commissioned Griffiths in 1983 to write a diagnosis of the problems of the NHS. What he decided the NHS really needed was more managerialism and internal markets (ask anybody that works in the NHS today what the biggest problem and waste of money is, and they'll all tell you, too many managers and markets), and this seemed to set him up as the best possible person to respond to the media crisis brewing around the terrible quality of institutional care in the UK.

Haven't read it all yet, but it might be an interesting and different view on affairs.

I have read it now and it is a interesting and more general view on affairs and the general use of CBT on the general public in the UK, including two interesting links about CBT.

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