Mental Health Inc.: The Political Economy of Disorder – Specific Mental Health Organisations and Their Impact on the Construction of Mental Illness Discourses
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In the 1980s, support groups were hailed as the panacea for people with psychiatric disorders. Two decades later, this enthusiasm has been replaced with cynicism and unfulfilled expectations. This paper will explore how informal, loosely structured support groups evolved into bureaucratic, commercially – orientated disorder – specific mental health organisations. The focus of these organisations shifted from addressing the needs of individuals to their programmes’ and services’ “cost – effectiveness” and “economic viability”. Case studies will be used to illustrate how the process of corporatisation has influenced the construction of meaning around what we understand mental illness to be and how people with mental illness experience it.
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