By Michael Donnelly

ISBN-10: 0415061768

ISBN-13: 9780415061766

In 1978 Italy handed a deeply radical legislations last all its psychological wellbeing and fitness hospitals. This was once the end result of the expansion and improvement of a truly robust anti-psychiatry move which had sprung up within the overdue 1960's. either the legislations, the move, and its aftermath were a lot mentioned in Britain, the USA and different eu nations a result of have to re-examine their very own psychological well-being care rules, yet in past times there was an absence of trustworthy literature on which to base the dialogue. The Politics of psychological well-being in Italy presents for the 1st time a scholarly and extremely balanced account of occasions and phenomena which have been formerly provided in a extra idiosyncratic and polemical type. Michael Donnely introduces, records and reviews seriously at the 3 levels of the Italian event: the past due sixties psychological overall healthiness move; the drafting and passage of the 1978 legislations; and the aftermath of deinstitutionalisation, which has disenchanted its supporters and stored the entire subject on the centre of public debate.

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14 There was nonetheless a certain logic (a perverse logic) evident in the way that the parts of the psychiatric system were combined and functioned together. This is perhaps a clue to the longevity and resistance to change of the system, and a way to explain the lingering effects of Italian psychiatry’s historical legacy. More than in other countries there THE POLITICS OF MENTAL HEALTH IN ITALY 35 was a ‘fit’ of sorts between the psychiatric profession, the mental health law, and the asylum system.

17 Psychotropic drugs were widely diffused in the mid-1950s, and were greeted in many quarters as ‘wonder drugs’. There can be no doubt about their dramatic effects on many chronic patients who rather suddenly seemed humanly reachable; nor of the relief the drugs brought to those patients whose overpowering symptoms became less intrusive and compelling. But arguably the most important immediate effects of the drugs were not on the patients but on the image of psychiatric care itself. To psychiatrists and other mental health workers the drugs brought a new sense of optimism, and encouraged their efforts at actively intervening against patients’ disorders.

The training of psychiatrists in that period was organized largely through departments of neuropsychiatry, allied with university clinics. The structure of training and employment was very hierarchical, with appointments and promotions openly controlled through patronage networks. 1 The public mental hospitals, on the other hand, were basically a separate and independent network, and were seen in comparison to the elite university clinics as the poor relations of the mental health system. In university clinics the case loads were predominantly voluntary THE POLITICS OF MENTAL HEALTH IN ITALY 39 patients, often neurotics or others suffering from the less serious disorders.

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The Politics of Mental Health in Italy by Michael Donnelly

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