Letters on Liberty: Escaping the straitjacket of mental health - cover image


Ken McLaughlin argues that failing to distinguish between mental distress, which requires serious help, and the more mundane, albeit painful, times when we might feel low or anxious, is a problem. Many within the mental-health industry have inadvertently led more people to view themselves through the prism of mental illness, he argues. Ken writes that if we care about helping those in mental distress, and want to protect our freedoms, we need to ensure that we do not swap the literal straitjacket for its metaphorical equivalent.

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Ken McLaughlin has over 30 years of experience in social work and social care, working as a senior lecturer in social work and mental health, and in practice as an Approved Mental Health professional and team manager in a social services mental-health team. He is the author of Social Work Politics and Society: from radicalism to orthodoxy. His work has appeared in several academic journals and in spiked. His latest book Stigma, and its discontents was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2021.

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