It’s just over a month until the UK general election and many Brits seem to have lost trust in their traditional politicos. Whether it’s the UK Independence Party (UKIP) scapegoating the European Union and immigrants, a rise in nationalism (the Scottish National party), or Russell Brand’s teenage anarchism, faith in facile, and sometimes ugly, solutions is on the march. It’s a huge relief, therefore, to hear that the editors of the DSM (the main reference book for psychiatric classification), are considering a new category of disorder to cover this condition. Clearly many critical things have been said about the burgeoning amount of psychiatric diagnosis, here and elsewhere. However, I’ve just looked at the DSM draft entry (reproduced below), and think that this time, the American Psychiatric Association might really be onto something. In fact, all I can say is bring it on.
Professor John Read, back in the UK after a long period away, is struck by some important changes in the way we view mental health problems.
Sue Holttum suggests that biological explanations for distress may easily be over-emphasised.
The Time to Change campaign is the biggest mental health stigma busting campaign in the UK, receiving an estimated £21 million between 2007 and 2011. Given this level of investment I would hope it made significant differences to stigma surrounding mental health problems. The truth is that it hasn’t, and in some areas of stigma, prejudice has increased.
‘I’m so glad’, says our head of Salomons Centre Prof Margie Callanan, ‘that I am reading something a little edifying when you ask this’. Clearly, it’s a relief to seem professorial when someone looks your way. She goes on to recommend ‘The First Sex’ by Elizabeth Gould Davis and specifically the chapter entitled, ‘Not Quite People – The Nineteenth Century’. The sub-heading to the chapter is ‘A Special Kind of Property’. This book is about the female in society through the ages, from early civilisation to the Aquarian Age, through mythology and religion. It is of course, more political than psychological, but if we agree with Robert Graves that ‘The present intolerable world situation…cannot even begin to ease until the basic argument of Elizabeth Gould Davis’s ‘The First Sex’ is accepted by all schools and universities’, then perhaps the psychological can draw on this understanding of the past to inform both our present and our future. For men and women.