For all the effort made to find solutions for the incorrigible problem of ‘serious mental health problems’ (the current styling for the age-old category of ‘madness’), clear answers are rare. As Mike Slade suggests in the quote above, there are a variety of ways to reach the goal. Some treatments that appeared to be so promising (drug therapies) have helped some people, yet some people have gained little relief and others have been harmed. Some people with a psychiatric label resist or ignore efforts to normalise their difference and make others more comfortable with them. However, some other patients would like desperately to find solutions and hope. Those who work in mental health services seek solutions to the madness and misery that affect people and disrupt communities, and they often struggle within resource-poor settings to support people who need help. Our efforts here to be critical of the idea of recovery are not meant to be critical or dismissive of individuals who suffer from problems nor of the people who work with them. But in order to evaluate the empowering potential of the idea, we must be honest about its traps and weaknesses, particularly those that might be convenient to ignore.
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