Jonathan Leach's clearly written book is an important contribution in helping us to understand the value of social support, its complex meanings, and how it can be provided in practice. It should be read by all mental health professionals.
Getting the basics right about responding to people with a psychiatric diagnosis is vital. In this book Jonathan Leach makes the eminently sensible case that one of those needs is for human association. Social support reduces our risk of developing mental health problems and it increases our luck of recovery when and if they develop. A clear and well written case is made for the reader that social support not clever technologies should be a high priority in mental health policy.
Leach draws on his years of experience providing support for people with mental health problems that did not sit comfortably within a medical or psychotherapeutic paradigm yet seem to be very important for mental health. He uses ideas from sociology-his first field-but warns that this is not a sociology of mental health handbook. His topics include rediscovering social support, social aspects of mental health and distress, the importance of supportive relationships, support in the workplace, and making it happen.
Social support is essential for our mental health and must not be ignored in the rush towards psychological or pharmacological explanations for mental distress. This important book should be read by every health and social care student to ensure social perspectives are retained in our understanding of mental health.
This accessible and persuasive book explores the meaning and value of both informal and organised social support for people with mental health problems. Written from the author's long experience in both voluntary and academic work, it is both a powerful and practical advocate for social support to be viewed as of equal significance as medical and psychological interventions, and is of direct relevance to everyone working in statutory and voluntary mental health services.