Dangerous liaisons?: The myth of mental illness and risk
RCN Research Society: Winifred Raphael Lecture
A Public lecture for World Mental Health Day
The myth of the mentally ill as dangerous and menacing persists despite evidence to the contrary. Risk assessment is pervasive in mental health practice. This continuing focus on risk, while well intentioned as it is in reducing harm and increasing people’s safety, has a stigmatising, and, in some cases, traumatic effect on people
using mental health services; it reinforces the myth that people who are mentally unwell are an inevitable risk to society and that through risk assessment we can minimise or eliminate this threat.
Prof Callaghan will argue that it is the often unquestioned acceptance of the effectiveness of risk assessment and the unconscious bias that emerges from this narrative that poses the biggest risk. People living with mental health issues are frequently marginalised and often live in communities associated with recurrent harm and crime and that promote stigma. By classifying individuals as risky we are giving the stamp of scientific approval to society’s prejudices and fear.
The Winifred Raphael Memorial Lecture is one of the main events in the RCN Research Society calendar. The critical voice that nursing research brings is essential if we are to continue to improve the quality of care. This lecture is highly recommended and offers an exceptional opportunity for nurses, carers and service users to scrutinising mental health practice.
Professor Patrick Callaghan is Professor of Mental Health Nursing, School of Health Sciences and Professorial Fellow of the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham.
The talk will be introduced by Karen Medd of Middle Street Resource Centre, and the lecture will be followed by a Q&A and audience discussion. Middle Street Resource Centre was set up as a County Council Mental Health Day Service in the 70s but since 2015 it has been run by an independent charity - Beeston Community Resource CIO - and has expanded its role to include the wider community in Broxtowe and adjoining areas..
In addition to the talk, we’ll have stalls and information in the café area beforehand.
Find out more about the Royal College of Nursing centenary at https://www.rcn.org.uk/centenary
18.00 – Registration, with stalls and information on mental health nursing and community support 18.30 – Lecture followed by Q&A 20.00 – Drinks reception with further viewing of collection & stands 21.00 - Close
Image: David Beales (Bethlem Gallery). Buy David Beales' book, The Road to the Asylum, online here. Some of David's art can be viewed in Bedlam: The Asylum and Beyond at Wellcome Collection (15 Sept 2016 - 17 Jan 2017) and Reclaiming Asylum at the Bethlem Gallery (21 Sept - 11 Nov 2016).