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The contradictory role played by mental health services in society has been progressively described by commentators and different interest groups since the beginning of the 1960s when mental health practice moved from an institutional to an increasingly larger community-based system of care. Hovewer, the complexity of the issues related to the acknowledgement and application of civil rights to mental patients on the one hand, and on the other hand, the disparate power and demands of involved parties—that is, relatives, users, professionals and agencies—have often hindered an objective joint outlook. In this sense, the Perkins and Repper book provides a valuable contribution because it entails a comprehensive up to date well documented overview of most of the underlying problems brought to surface by the application of the Community Mental Health Practice. Aimed at the defence of the full citizenship rights of the people with serious mental problems and anchored in this respect, it represents a meeting point for scientific literature, professional expertise and user experience where classically crucial and unresolved issues as the cure concept, the limits between madness and human condition, the interference of professional roles in mental health teams, the duty of patient protection, the treatment priorities, compliance and compulsory detention, or the different view of mental health difficulties in users, relatives and professionals, are thoroughly analysed and further discussed by means of the dilemma of choice or control. Reading this book will surely be of help to any professional in the community mental health field interested in deepening the understanding of the serious demands of mental patients to increase the quality of their service.
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