Psychotherapist James Davies has written an article for the Daily Mail. It begins:
“Medicine has progressed at an astonishing rate over the past 40 years. If, in the late 1970s, a child had contracted leukaemia, their chances of survival would have been around 20 per cent — today it would be 80 per cent.
Similar impressive rates of improvement can be found in almost every other area of medicine. With one exception: mental health.
In this area, not only have clinical outcomes broadly flatlined but, according to some measures, they have actually got worse.
And this is despite tens of billions of pounds having been spent on psychiatric research in the past two decades; despite £18 billion being spent on mental health services annually in the NHS; and despite nearly a quarter of the entire UK adult population now being prescribed a psychiatric drug each year.
Public conversations around mental health have proliferated. This, of course, is a good thing. But it is clearly insufficient in making things better.
The answer lies in something I, as a fledgling psychotherapist, had not expected to encounter when I started working in the NHS in the early 2000s. I soon realised that the vast majority of people who’d been diagnosed and prescribed psychiatric medication were not mentally ill or dysfunctional in any substantiated or medical sense.
Rather, they were people experiencing the inevitably painful human consequences of being engulfed by life’s difficulties or severe misfortunes. Far from being pathological, they were having sane yet painful reactions to factors such as poverty, trauma, family breakdown, social discrimination, abuse and so forth …”
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