The Politics of Mental Health in Italy by Michael Donnelly

By Michael Donnelly

In 1978 Italy handed a deeply radical legislation final all its psychological overall healthiness hospitals. This was once the fruits of the expansion and improvement of a truly powerful anti-psychiatry flow which had sprung up within the overdue 1960's. either the legislations, the circulation, and its aftermath were a lot mentioned in Britain, the USA and different eu nations as a result of have to re-examine their very own psychological well-being care regulations, yet during the past there was a scarcity of trustworthy literature on which to base the dialogue. The Politics of psychological future health in Italy offers for the 1st time a scholarly and extremely balanced account of occasions and phenomena which were formerly awarded in a extra idiosyncratic and polemical model. Michael Donnely introduces, files and reviews significantly at the 3 stages of the Italian event: the overdue sixties psychological future health flow; the drafting and passage of the 1978 legislations; and the aftermath of deinstitutionalisation, which has dissatisfied its supporters and stored the complete subject on the centre of public debate.

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Extra resources for The Politics of Mental Health in Italy

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30 THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF ITALIAN PSYCHIATRY This was the second, more public aspect of the ‘positivism’ of Italian psychiatrists. 9 The particular role of psychiatrists, spanning laboratory research and practical experience with the administrative and political problems involved in running asylums, gave them an important strategic position. Psychiatrists were in a way the ideal interlocutors between general medicine and the wider scientific community involved in developing the applied human and social sciences.

5 Sources: Verga, A. , and Cossoncelli, C. (1976) ‘Le malattie mentali e l’assistenza psichiatrica in Italia’, Rivista sperimentale di freniatria 100:361ff (for 1926–54). THE POLITICS OF MENTAL HEALTH IN ITALY 27 much for their religious sensibility) than for medical expertise proper. It was, again, only after the 1850s that a professional discipline of alienists, with a self-conscious sense of their specialist medical identity and a clear career pattern, began to emerge. In this sense, professional psychiatry really developed, or was decisively refounded, with the unification of Italy.

It was here, however, that the sociogenetic argument was used, somewhat mischievously, to provide a positive endorsement of ‘social’ therapy. From the psychiatrist’s point of view, the contribution of the social scientist in the mental hospital had been to counteract the negative effects of institutionalism, and possibly to provide new positive sociotherapeutic techniques. For the social scientist, however, it was but a step to extend this limited contribution into a full-fledged alternative approach.

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