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"It's Like Mental Torture": Participation and Mental Health Services

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This article discusses findings from an ethnographic research study looking at the ways in which children's participation rights are incorporated within an adolescent mental health inpatient unit. The practitioners working within this setting have reinterpreted the concept of 'participation' to suit a coercive agenda associated with the authoritarian medical model of treatment used within child psychiatry. Indeed, the use of the term 'participation' has become a tool to enforce children's compliance with adult (and practitioner) determined treatment plans. For the most part, the barriers to according children's participation rights within this setting relate to the institution's and practitioners' protectionist stance vis-à-vis children who are deemed informally to be both vulnerable and incompetent.

Affiliations: 1: School of Social Work, Laurentian University


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