Reviews

Book review: Committed - The Battle Over Involuntary Psychiatric Care

Committed book cover

Committed: The Battle Over Involuntary Psychiatric Care

This book is well-written and should be of particular interest to all mental health nurses. The authors, practising psychiatrists, provide a well-balanced account of the difficulties faced by patients, carers, health professionals and criminal justice workers in deciding whether someone should receive involuntary or voluntary psychiatric care.

They use patient stories that provide a grounding in the academic and professional debate. Early in the book, the authors state that in their research for the book, more patients felt 'injured' by involuntary psychiatric care than helped by it. This issue is at the heart of the book.

The book does set out a balanced argument for both sides, providing arguments and rationale for the anti-psychiatry movement as well as professionals who believe in involuntary admission and treatment without consent.

While

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Committed: The Battle Over Involuntary Psychiatric Care

★ ★ ★ ★

This book is well-written and should be of particular interest to all mental health nurses. The authors, practising psychiatrists, provide a well-balanced account of the difficulties faced by patients, carers, health professionals and criminal justice workers in deciding whether someone should receive involuntary or voluntary psychiatric care. 

They use patient stories that provide a grounding in the academic and professional debate. Early in the book, the authors state that in their research for the book, more patients felt 'injured' by involuntary psychiatric care than helped by it. This issue is at the heart of the book.

The book does set out a balanced argument for both sides, providing arguments and rationale for the anti-psychiatry movement as well as professionals who believe in involuntary admission and treatment without consent.

While the book is about the American system, the issues raised and debated do relate to our mental health system in the UK. It is also useful to read about other systems of health care delivery in order to compare and contrast.

The reference section of the book is useful, including reference information on American case law, professional bodies and support groups. 

I would recommend this book to the libraries of all universities where mental health is taught.

Dinah Miller & Annette Hanson | Johns Hopkins University Press | 328pp | US$22.95/£15.99 | ISBN: 9781421420783 hardback edition

Reviewed by Calum Meiklejohn, quality director, Fromeside Unit, Blackberry Hill Hospital, Stapleton, Bristol

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