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Madness, distress and the politics of disablement$
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Helen Spandler, Helen Spandler, Jill Anderson, and Bob Sapey

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447314578

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447314578.001.0001

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date: 21 August 2017

Unreasonable adjustments? Applying disability policy to madness and distress

Unreasonable adjustments? Applying disability policy to madness and distress

Chapter:
(p.13) One Unreasonable adjustments? Applying disability policy to madness and distress
Source:
Madness, distress and the politics of disablement
Author(s):

Helen Spandler

Jill Anderson

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447314578.003.0002

This chapter explores disconnections between policy discourse, that conceives of people with mental health problems as disabled, and the positions taken by individuals experiencing madness and distress. It identifies some tricky issues that may underlie difficulties in putting disability policy in to practice in relation to madness and distress. The first issue is that madness is, by definition, unsettling, especially as it relates to notions of unreason and irrationality. The second issue is that, as a result of their perceived unreason/irrationality, people with mental health problems are perceived to pose a risk, actively pathologised and socially excluded. In the light of these first two issues, individuals are then faced with a third: the problematic adoption of a ‘mentally ill’ and/or disabled identity. This chapter argues that, taken together, these issues present major obstacles for people who experience madness and distress, preventing them from benefiting from wider disability policy.

Keywords:   pathologisation, social exclusion, activism, madness, disability, identity, reasonable adjustments, distress, risk

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