Mental health practice and children: dogma, discourse, debate and practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the field of mental health, debates range along opposing axes with the protection of the public on one axis and the citizenship and human rights of the individual on the other. There is also considerable contestation for ideological and theoretical dominance about how mental distress should be viewed and responded to. Discourses alternatively emphasising protection, control and compulsion, and rights, citizenship autonomy and self-determination have added impetus when applied to children and young people. This is also a grouping denied a voice both in terms of individual treatment programmes and in the formulation of policy and practice. This article addresses the key debates and appraises the implications of changing policy and practice for children and young people experiencing mental distress in the UK. Although the discussion is located in a particular national context, the emergent themes have a much broader relevance for debates, policy and practice in the international arena.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-206
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Work in Mental Health
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 8 Nov 2004


  • mental health
  • children
  • young people
  • medicalisation
  • user involvement


Dive into the research topics of 'Mental health practice and children: dogma, discourse, debate and practice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this