Psychosis and Human Rights: Conflicts in Mental Health Policy and Practice

Spandler, Helen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0970-5141 and Calton, Tim (2009) Psychosis and Human Rights: Conflicts in Mental Health Policy and Practice. Social Policy and Society, 8 (2). pp. 245-256. ISSN 1474-7464

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This paper examines conflicts in polices in England and Wales pertaining to the demand for alternative, non-medical crisis support for those experiencing ‘psychosis’. We examine the limitations of current treatment, policy and legislative frameworks in supporting these demands. In particular, we focus on the limitations of prevailing conceptualisations of ‘human rights’, ‘social inclusion’ and ‘recovery’. These concepts, we argue, are embedded within a broader treatment framework which renders medication as mandatory and all other treatment modalities as inherently subsidiary, and a broader policy framework which is complicit with bio-medical orthodoxies of ‘mental illness’ and prioritises treatment compliance and compulsion. Therefore, in order to advance a ‘human rights’ approach to mental health policy, we argue that reigning orthodoxies inherent within policy and practice must be explicitly challenged to open up spaces for the availability of alternatives.

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