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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2007): Mental health services - overseas

Consistencies and inconsistencies: mental health, compulsory treatment and community capacity building in England, Wales and Australia

B. Fawcett

British Journal of Social Work, vol. 37, 2007, p. 1027-1042

Mental health policy in England, Wales and Australia contains statements about human rights and the need to address stigma. As part of this constructive message, especially in England and Wales, emphasis is placed on user involvement in service planning and delivery at both macro and micro levels. However, when the focus shifts to compulsory treatment, these stated inclusive aspects of policy easily give way to the conferring of very considerable powers on a small number of professionals. Service users become patients and their involvement in what happens to them is related to assessments of their ability and capacity. Considerations about citizenship rights give way to the need to assess and treat individual symptoms, or become dependent upon compliance with care plans. This approach militates against the renewed emphasis currently being placed on community development linked to a reconfigured definition of recovery.

Economic factors and psychiatric hospital beds: an analysis of historical trends

A. Ceccherini-Nelli and S. Priebe

International Journal of Social Economics, vol. 34, 2007, p. 788-810

This paper explores the association between economic factors (consumer price index, real gross domestic product per capita, base discount rate and rate of unemployment) and numbers of psychiatric hospital beds. Time series analytical techniques were applied to two regional datasets from the nineteenth century (North Carolina, USA and Berkshire, England) and three national twentieth century datasets (USA, UK and Italy) to test the hypothesis of a relationship. All datasets suggest a long-term relationship between economic factors and psychiatric bed numbers. Increase in consumer prices predicted a decrease in hospital bed numbers (and vice versa) in all datasets and was the strongest predictor of changes in psychiatric bed numbers.

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