Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Understanding the mental health tribes: A critical historical analysis of the changing functions of mental health practitioners

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Routes into Teaching

Who this event is for

  • Everyone


The Green Room, Headington Hill Hall, Headington Campus, Headington Hill site


Standard histories of the mental health professions are often celebratory and internalist, placed within a framework dominated by histories of the asylum, with the process of deinstitutionalisation - moving from asylum to ‘community care’ - seen as a key determinant of changing functions of mental health workers. This seminar presents an alternative analysis of the major changes of function and patterns of professionalisation for these workers, and the emergence of new groups of mental health workers, from c.1960 to the present day. It offers a framework for understanding these changes, based on concepts of filter theory, care pathways, and patterns of mental health care, that are derived from ideas of social psychiatry. It reviews the major shifts in patterns of practice, no longer dominated by profession of origin, or by NHS employment.

Discussants: Dr Jonathan Leach (Open University) and Professor John Stewart (LSE)

John Hall is currently both Visiting Professor of Mental Health, and Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Medical Humanities, at Oxford Brookes University. His forthcoming book, The Mental Health Tribes, will be published by Palgrave.