Match or Mismatch?



Are we producing services aimed at meeting the needs of psychiatric service users or not? Match or mismatch? Broadly, the users have a number of common elements. Although public attitudes are improving, users are still heavily stigmatised and devalued by the rest of the community. They are mostly women and disproportionately black. They are poor, living off social security benefits. They have few friends and social supports. Many still live in the large dormitories of Victorian hospitals or often in poor-quality accommodation in the worst neighbourhoods. Most are anxious and/or depressed. An increasing number are pensioners in rest and nursing homes. Some are homeless, lost on discharge from mental hospitals, living on the wintry streets, begging from passers-by and continually moved on by the police (Brandon et al., 1980). Apart from a select few visionary projects, they have little real influence in the running of their services.


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© David Brandon 1991

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