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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

A Good Choice for Mental Health

The third paper in ippr's Mental Health in the Mainstream series looks at options for extending the choice agenda to mental health services.

In mental health, the choice agenda has had a different evolution to the rest of the NHS. People with mental health problems have been stigmatised, subject to poor practice or not taken seriously. The underlying assumption of past mental health services was that patients were unable to make choices. Also unique to mental health are the coercive aspects of the service. As such, choice poses a significant challenge to established ways of delivering services and interacting with people. In the long run, the concept of choice could have a transformative effect, both on how mental health services work, as well as how society responds to mental health problems. These are the themes that this paper explores.