Chapter

T<b>he politics of risk and mental health</b>

Kenneth McLaughlin

in Social work, politics and society

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9781847420459
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303572 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847420459.003.0005
The politics of risk and mental health

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This chapter is about statutory mental health social work, particularly in relation to the contemporary concern with risk management and risk minimisation. Social work here is seen as having a primary role in the assessment of risk. By discussing the wider societal preoccupation with risk avoidance, its incorporation into social policy and social work can be highlighted, providing a clear example of where social work practice cannot be divorced from wider societal trends. A new Mental Health Act that amends the 1983 Act has been influenced, to a large extent, by high-profile tragedies where psychiatric patients have killed themselves or others. By discussing the actual threat posed by such people, it can be shown that the fear outweighs the reality of danger, and the dangers to civil liberties inherent in the proposed changes can be highlighted. This chapter also focuses on the increase in coercive measures by social workers under the Mental Health Act of 1983.

Keywords: United Kingdom; social work; mental health; risk management; risk minimisation; social policy; Mental Health Act; fear; danger

Chapter.  8082 words. 

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