Bringing about change
I want to change attitudes in mental health services. The mental health profession is tied into this bio-genetic model that doesn’t tell us anything about the individual. I have been saying for years now – the most important question we need to ask someone when they present at psychiatric services is ‘how have you got here?’. And that’s not ‘by bus, taxi or ambulance!’ – Its what has happened in your life to bring you to services? With the best will in the world, we don’t wake up one day and decide to be mad. Something happens in a person’s life to bring them to services. We need to explore that question instead of jumping to diagnosis.
Diagnosis could be bi-polar or schizophrenia but that doesn’t tell you anything about the person. Do you know that the average time it takes someone to disclose about themselves and what has brought them to services is sixteen years? That is a long time out of a person’s life to carry something that needs to be disclosed.
All the research shows that everybody wants to be asked. Not everybody wants to disclose, but everybody wants to be asked. If we don’t understand the relationship between, for example, life experiences and voices, people will not be able to recover.