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Welfare reform on the Web (October 2006): Mental Health Services - Overseas

The history of self-advocacy for people with learning difficulties: international comparisons

S. Ledger and S. Tilley (editors)

British Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol.34, 2006, p.121-188

The first four papers in this special issue explore the evolution of self-advocacy groups for people with learning difficulties in England, Denmark, the Czech Republic and Japan. The second group of papers in the collection focuses on personal experiences of self-advocacy through a number of life histories and individual testimonies.

Mental health in the Czech Republic: current problems, trends and future developments

I. David and others

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol.5, June 2006, p.43-47

Most psychiatric care in the Czech Republic is provided in long-stay hospitals and the transition to a community-based service has yet to be made. Mental health services suffer from chronic under-investment and there is a lack of legislation protecting patients’ rights and autonomy. The pressures of transition to a market economy have led to increased rates of addiction, suicide and mental health problems related to social, political and economic instability.

The power gap: freedom, power and mental illness

B.D. Kelly

Social Science and Medicine, vol.63, 2006, p.2118-2128

Up to one in four individuals in the US meet he diagnostic criteria for anxiety, mood, impulse control and/or substance misuse disorders in any given year. More severe mental illness is also relatively common. Despite this prevalence, mental health services remain poorly funded, and people with severe, recurring disorders face social isolation, reduced employment prospects, ongoing stigma and the denial of basic rights. The author attributes this situation to three factors: 1) the relative ineffectiveness of pressure groups; 2) the systematic exclusion of the mentally ill from full participation in social, civic and political life; and 3) the difficulties the mentally ill may experience in recognising or articulating their own needs.

Psychiatry and the community in Slovenia: an outsider’s view

J. Lucas

Journal of Public Mental Health, vol.5, June 2006, p.36-42

Slovenia has some real strengths on which to build better community mental health services. There is an existing network of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) running mental health services; direct payments are in use in the field of learning difficulties; care planning has been developed in several NGOs; and there are positive developments in advocacy. However, services could be improved by greater participation of users and carers in their development.

Social inclusion of people with mental illness

J. Leff and R. Warner

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006

People with serious mental illness no longer spend years of their lives in psychiatric institutions. In developed countries there has been a major shift in the focus of care from hospitals into the community. However, whilst it means those with mental illness are not confined, it does not guarantee they will be integrated fully into their communities. The barriers to full citizenship are due partly to the disabilities produced by their illnesses and partly to stigma and discriminatory attitudes among the public. This book analyses the causes of these barriers and suggests ways of dismantling them.

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