What is mental health problems?

What are mental health problems?
Much of what is written and spoken about emotional distress or mental health problems implies that they are illnesses. This can lead us all too easily to believe that we no longer have to think about mental health problems because illness is best left to doctors. They are the illness experts, and psychiatrists are the doctors who specialise in mental illness. This series of books is different because we don't think that all mental health problems should be automatically regarded as illnesses.
If mental health problems aren't necessarily illnesses, it means that the burden of responsibility for distress in our lives should not be entirely shouldered by doctors and psychiatrists. All citizens have a responsibility, however small, in creating a world where everyone has a decent opportunity to live a fulfilling life. This is a contentious idea, but one that we want to advance, alongside the dominant medical view.
Rather than accept that the ways of understanding and solutions to mental health problems are ‘owned by the medical profession, we will take a good look at alternatives that involve the users of psychiatric services, their carers, families, friends and other ordinary people taking control of their own lives, and that means all of us. One of the tools required in order to become active in mental health issues, whether your own or other peoples, is knowledge. This series of books is a starting point for anyone who wants to know more about mental health.

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