Is it reasonable for mentally ill people to “do nothing”? At a recent meeting of the Social, Community and Rehabilitation Section of the College, there was some discussion of this in the context of the influential ‘Three Hospitals’ study. The assumption of those researchers had been to view such non-activity in a pejorative light. Some members of the audience considered this simply reflected the “class norms and value preferences of the professionals”, a phrase used by Jones et al in relation to modern attitudes towards community care. Developing a thoughtful and historical perspective, based on their own continuing work in the Friern/Claybury TAPS (Team for Assessment of Psychiatric Services) research project, these authors have highlighted several key weaknesses of the modern non-asylum movement.
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