We now wish to reflect upon the rationale for, and structure and content of, the book. It was our intention from the start to take a critical view about what mental illness and health means to a range of stakeholders, including policy-makers, professionals, service users and the wider public. Each of the chapters uses a range of sources to summarise the knowledge base in these chosen areas, but at the same time challenging taken-for-granted ideas. In doing so we hope we have persuaded you that the world of mental health, whether experienced by service users and their families, or in the practice of professionals, is indeed complex and characterised by ambiguity and uncertainty. Yet, at the same time we hope that the book points to policy and practice that is optimistic and focused on issues of well-being and empowerment.
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