Critical psychiatry perspectives have developed in response to concerns about the dominance of bio-medical perspectives and have been influenced by service user perspectives.In contrast to anti-psychiatry perspectives which tend to reject bio-medical explanations, critical perspectives suggest a bio-medical approach to mental health is necessary but insufficient to understand people in their cultural, social and economic context.They argue that the promise of modernism to solve all problems through reason, logic, science and technology, has led to unrealistic expectations of psychiatry and an expansion of its scope beyond its evidence base. It is suggested that the limitations of psychiatry should be acknowledged.People’s subjective experiences, stories, interactions and contexts are central to understanding and responding to mental health problems.Critical psychiatry perspectives also developed in response to concerns about the increasing use of coercion and compulsory powers in mental health care, especially in community settings, and there are emerging debates about the interaction between mental health and mental capacity law.These ideas overlap with critical perspectives on disability in general, especially the social model of disability and, more recently, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and critical disability theory.The evidence base for critical psychiatry perspectives is built on research on the limitations of traditional bio-medical understanding and treatment, and findings about the effectiveness of more positive, inclusive, narrative, systemic, ethically focused approaches to mental health care.
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