Mental health services must place far more
emphasis on the principles of recovery and helping service users
live a life beyond illness, according to a new position statement
from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
The statement. launched on 3 June
2009, has been produced by the College’s Social Inclusion
Scoping Group. Dr Jed Boardman, chair of the Group, said: “People
with mental health problems and learning disabilities are among the
most marginalised and stigmatised groups in our society. For many
of them, social exclusion is a harsh reality.
“We want to see a shift in the culture and
practice of mental health and learning disability services, so that
services are more concerned with helping people recover their lives
– they should be organised to promote and facilitate personal
recovery and to foster opportunity.”
The Scoping Group identifies three key
elements that are central to social recovery: hope, a sense of
personal control, and the opportunity for people to lead the kind
of life they want.
Janey Antoniou said: “As a service user, I am
aware how important it is to have a social network and to feel I’m
part of society. I welcome this document from the Royal College of
Psychiatrists, which tries to help give opportunities to all people
with mental health problems and learning disabilities.”
Paul Jenkins, chief executive of mental health
charity Rethink, has lent his organisation's support to the new
position statement. Speaking at the launch of the document during
the College's 2009 Annual Meeting in Liverpool, Mr Jenkins said:
“Social inclusion should be the heart of modern, recovery focused
mental health services promoting hope and aspirations of what can
be possible in spite of mental health problems and challenging the
stigma and discrimination which mean that people with mental health
problems are one of the most marginalised groups in
“Psychiatrists have a key role in promoting
social inclusion as individuals practitioners, working with other
services and agencies and in helping lead a sensible public debate
about recovery and risk. I would like to congratulate the College
on producing the statement and in being prepared to champion change
within the profession.”
The position statement makes a series of
recommendations for changing mental health and learning disability
- Increasing the number of people with personal
experience of mental health problems and/or learning disabilities
who are employed in mental health services.
- Strengthening the involvement of service
users and carers in the planning of services.
- Recognising that the relationship between
service users and mental health professionals needs to be one of
- Building more socially inclusive practice
into medical training.
For further information, please
Kathy Oxtoby or
Deborah Hart in the Communications
Telephone: 0203 701 2544 or 0203 701 2538
Mental Health and Social Inclusion: Making Psychiatry and Mental Health Services fit for the 21st Century, is available on the Royal College of Psychiatrists website: www.rcpsych.ac.uk
Note to editors:
The Social Inclusion Scoping Group included representatives from all Faculties of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, as well as external mental health organisations, and service user representatives.