How do we define mental health and ill-health? Who decides what evidence indicates mental ill-health and which evidence is used to inform policy and practice? At the beginning of the twenty-first century, mental health services in England and Wales are at a critical point in terms of their development. This book considers a number of key themes and tensions in relation to theory, policy, practice and research, emphasizing the complex relationships between these four areas and exploring the impact of service user, carer and professional perspectives. Contemporary Mental Health Policy and Practice examines the tensions between different professional models, varying "social" perspectives and political imperatives and explores how these tensions are manifested in practice. Topics covered include: the emphasis on risk as opposed to citizenship and entitlement; social exclusion and inclusion; professional and user perspectives; the "territories" of health and social care and their respective roles and relationships. An important theme running throughout is the critical appraisal of perspectives concerning gender, ethnicity and sexuality, drawing out wider issues of power and inequality. "Contemporary Mental Health Policy and Practice" makes ideas and theoretical policy material accessible and applicable, and is a key text for students and practitioners in mental health, social work and social care.