Recent article in The Lancet makes reference to an article that I commented on in a previous post. It suggests that in some ways psychiatry is a "speciality only beginning to define itself".
Wonder why it's taken so long to do that! Perhaps the article is trying to dissociate itself from psychiatry's history (see my chapter in Mental health ethics). If it's following the previous article, this means believing that psychiatry needs to "realign itself as a key biomedical specialty at the heart of mental health". That's always been the hope of psychiatry that it will find the biological basis of mental illness. And, what's that got to do with being a "branch of medicine that seeks to support some of the most marginalised members of society", which is what the article says psychiatry is?
The latter characterisation of psychiatry may even raise questions. The article favourably references The Lancet's Global Mental Health Series, which I have commented on in a previous post. However, social factors, such as poverty and injustice, are not necessarily at the centre of the understanding of mental health problems in modern psychiatric practice.
The article also mentions the Schizophrenia Commission's recent report, but doesn't mention the Inquiry into the schizophrenia label (ISL) (see previous post). Suman Fernando, one of the ISL co-ordinating group, has commented on the report. Psychiatry should be about treating people with mental health problems as persons, but this isn't always the case. A helpful feature of the Schizophrenia Commission's report is its recognition that too many people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are in secure psychiatric provision.