Mark Ellerby's essay on anti-psychiatry is a well-balanced, open minded analysis of this new and divisive movement. Mark uses his experience as a mental health service user to explore the backlash against traditional psychiatry and its relationships to politics, religion, the survivor movement and society as a whole. Ellerby's writing is informative and incisive but never patronising. In introducing and exploring this topic he is doing us all a service, this is an important and vocal movement which needs to be understood.
About the Author
My biographical history is very much dominated by schizophrenia which began at age 21. I had just graduated from university and starting a PhD. course in political philosophy. I had to give up my PhD. after a five year struggle with the illness due to a lack of information to hand about what hearing voices actually is
"It is easy to some across the anti-psychiatry movement these days, especially where the family or patient has internet access. I believe it is necessary for the social worker to receive training to explain the other side to the argument.
The views of Foucault and Goffman seem to paint the whole world of mental health in black. When I was newly diagnosed and frightened by stigma my anxieties where heightened by what these writers had to say.
I was left to figure it all out for myself that these views are not necessarily the only ones available. A little knowledge really is dangerous and can certainly impact on your mental health.
Stigma is created in a capitalist society whose primary values are self reliance and self responsibility. In today's terms this is the equivalent of teaching independence and rehabilitation, especially through the policy of care in the community.