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Pure Madness: How Fear Drives the Mental Health System [Hardcover]

Jeremy Laurance
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 100.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

14 Nov 2002 0415369797 978-0415369794
Public alarm for random attacks by mentally ill people is at an all-time high. The brutal killing of Jill Dando, the TV personality, and the assault on George Harrison, the former Beatle, are among the cases which have undermined confidence in the mental health service. Community care is widely seen as a failed policy that has left too many people walking the streets, posing a risk to themselves and a threat to others. The Government has responded with a programme of change billed as the biggest reform in forty years, but will it achieve the 'safe, sound, supportive' service as promised?

For Pure Madness, Jeremy Laurance travelled across the country observing the care provided to mentally ill people in Britain today. Based on interviews, visits and case histories, his book reveals a service driven by fear.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (14 Nov 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415369797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415369794
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 17.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,785,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'This controversial book will shock the mental health world. It will be warmly welcomed by those who think that the mentally ill are scandalously neglected. It will also provoke the antagonism of many actively involved in field, both as providers and users of services. It will leave no-one indifferent. Jeremy Laurance paints a vivid and harsh portrait of how mentally ill people are treated in Britain today. It is quite simply required reading for anyone interested in mental health.' - Professor Graham Thornicroft, Head of Community Psychiatry Section, Institute of Psychiatry

'Comprehensive, easy to understand, accurately reflecting the needs and perspectives of those with mental health difficulties, this book has qualities that the mental health services it describes desperately lack.' - Nurturing Potential

'The blood, sweat and tears that went into producing the book are evident. The author's personal encounters, observing mental health professionals in action, and the stories of staff and service users, allow the reader to empathise with the people involved and the issues they face. In sum, a compelling and intellectually stimulating book, full of passion and insight.' - Erin Whittingham, Healthmatters

From the Author

This book is the account of an investigation into the state of mental health care in Britain, A large part of it is devoted to reportage in which I have tied to convey what it is like to receive, and to provide, services for people with mental problems. The book is therefore impressionistic and anecdotal – it is not an academic study of the mental health system. There are many who could – and have performed that task better than I.

The subject first caught my attention twenty years ago when I came across a table of charitable giving showing cancer close to the top and mental health near the bottom. I wondered why cared of the mind should rank so much lower tan the cared of the body. The position is the same today. The cancer charities are followed closely by the animal charities. We give more to dogs than to those with mental problems.

During research for the book I visited services in Bradford, Camden, Croydon, Hackney, Norfolk, and North Birmingham. I joined ward rounds, went out with crisis teams, witnessed people being sectioned and watched a consultation in the street. I found many examples of good and innovative practise described in the second half of the book – but, overall, the picture is a lot gloomier than a civilised nation ought to tolerate. It is not just a question of resources. It is a question of culture, too.

I owe a particular debt to those people with mental problems who gave of their time and discussed painful, intimate and distressing issues with me. They deserve a better deal than they are currently getting from the mental health services and I am convinced that the best way to delivery it is to involve them more fully in determining what kind of support they receive. I hope this book helps them achieve that. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Psychiatric treatment can often do no more than apply a sticking plaster to society's ills. Read the first page
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 10 Mar 2006
By A Customer
I totally disagree with the reader from Slough; this book is not meant as a kind of self-help guide to coping with mental health problems. This book is a hard-hitting critique of the role of policy and the media in propagating the (erroneous) relationship between mental health problems and violence. The book does examine some well-known users of mental health services but only as a vehicle to critique current mental health policy and practice. I recommend this book to all those who are interested in mental health issues and those who want to read about the oppression caused by mental health policy, the media and public attitudes for people with mental health issues.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to reality 6 Jan 2003
By A Customer
Having experienced mental health issues from the perspective of a carer I was intrigued to listen to the points of view put across by the author. Without going in to too much depth he convayed the difficulties associated with mental heath by those effected, the carers and the medical profession. It makes for fascinating reading and lets you know that you're not alone in this world and that there are others going through the same tribulations. It gave me many new ideas and perspectives on how to deal with the issues that I have dealt with in the past and continue to have to deal with. I now have a better handle on how those effected by mental health issues feel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and motivational 27 Nov 2012
What this book does is expose mental health practice, both the good, the bad and the ugly. It provides relevant and useful case studies and examples and provides a realistic insight into the world of mental health practice. The issue that disturbed me the most is that this book was published a decade ago, and yet the problems and criticisms raised in the book, are still evident today. Changes have been made, but it is not enough.The most recent case of the standards of schizophrenic care in the news recently (November, 2012, BBC news) highlight how services users are being let down and frequently the media hones in on criminals who allegedly suffer from 'mental health issues' as a means of inducing further scandal to their story and we wonder why there has been little improvement. This book is as relevant today as it was in 2002. I would encourage not only mental health practitioners to read it, but any member of the public who thinks thats people with a mental health illness is just another crazy person who deserves to be locked up...
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