Mental health social work is at an impasse. On the one hand, the emphasis in recent policy documents on the social roots of much mental distress ,and in the recovery approaches popular with service users seems to indicate an important role for a holistic social work practice. On the other hand, social workers have often been excluded from these initiatives and the dominant approach within mental health continues to be a medical one, albeit supplemented by short-term psychological interventions. In this short form book, part of the Critical and Radical Debates in Social Work series, Jeremy Weinstein draws on case studies and his own experience as a mental health social worker, to develop a model of practice that draws on notions of alienation, anti-discriminatory practice and the need for both workers and service users to find ‘room to breathe’ in an environment shaped by managerialism and marketisation.
"An excellent summary of the issues confronting social work and mental health in the neoliberal world." Steve Rogowski, social worker (children and families)
"Essential reading for those who want a better world." Professional Social Work.
"Taking a radical stance has never been more important in social work. This most timely and innovative series of internationally renowned authors makes a significant contribution to advancing a new politics of social work.” Professor Stephen Webb, Chair in Social Work, Glasgow Caledonian University
Jeremy Weinstein was a London social worker before moving to South Bank University, leaving there as a Visiting Fellow. He was first involved with the 1970s radical social work 'Case Con' organisation and continues this commitment today through SWAN, the Social Work Action Network. He draws on his social work and his training as a gestalt psychotherapist to write, research and present on mental health, bereavement and loss.
Series Editors’ Introduction;
Social work and mental health ~ Lead essay by Jeremy Weinstein;
Letting madness breathe? Critical challenges facing mental health social work today ~ response by Helen Spandler
Agents of change? Social work for well-being and mental health ~ response by Jerry Tew;
Connecting psychological stress and colonialism ~ response by June Sadd;
‘Diagnosis human’: markets, targets and medicalisation in community mental health services ~ response by Rich Moth;
The problem with recovery ~ response by Des McDermott;
A student social worker’s perspective ~ response by Colette Bremang;
Observations from the front line ~ response by Andy Brammer;
Some concluding thoughts ~ Jeremy Weinstein;