A tragedy of anti-psychiatry is that its merit is lost in its extremism. Topics that warrant amplification — such as the importance of risk-benefit in full informed consent of medications and patient autonomy — are drowned out by sentiments that position psychiatry as the enemy”

Stea, Black, and Pierre (2020)

Anti-Psychiatry is not a new phenomenon, but in the UK at least, it seems to have found special favour amongst those with certain political leanings who prefer to relate psychological issues to societal rather than personal factors (this is in contrast to the US where a number of concerns are related to the link between mental health and ‘Big Pharma’). While being predominantly critical of the medical (drug-based) treatment of mental health, the movement can also include issues with labelling and diagnosis of psychological conditions (as we have seen in the Power Threat Meaning Framework).

‘If more people saw severe mental illness up close, there might be less anti-psychiatry sentiment along the lines of “mental illness doesn’t exist”‘

Joe Pierre, 2020

As intimated by the quote above, a number of those who are most strongly ‘anti-psychiatry’ have little experience of working with those with severe mental illness. This is particularly concerning given that those with the least knowledge and experience are trying to prevent appropriate and effective care of those who are most in need of it.

To learn more:

  • – For an excellent summary of the issues relating to anti-psychiatry (including a critique of the common ‘arguments’ used by the anti-psychiatry movement), see here.
  • – For a clear definition of what anti-psychiatry is, see here.
  • – For a critique of the anti-psychiatry movement, see here.

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