chapter  Chapter 2
35 Pages

Key perspectives surrounding mental health and offending

WithJulie D. Trebilcock, Samantha K. Weston

In this chapter we explore a range of perspectives about mental health and offending. This will enable readers to explore the variety of different ways in which mental health and offending can be understood. Crime and offending behaviour are often associated with deviation from a set of rules or norms. In a similar manner, symptoms and behaviours which may lead to a diagnosable mental health condition, also represent ways in which behaviour is regarded as having deviated from a set of ‘normal’ or ‘healthy’ behaviours. To support this discussion, readers will be introduced to the ‘medical model’ and explore its strengths and weaknesses as applied to mentally disordered offenders. In order to explore its related critique, the chapter will consider a range of sociological perspectives about mental health and offending including the ‘anti-psychiatry’ movement, literature surrounding medicalisation, and other sociological perspectives concerning risk, dangerousness and precaution. This discussion will bring us naturally to the somewhat controversial role of forensic mental health professionals and the challenges they confront when tasked with balancing the rights and confidentiality of their client with the rights of the public to protection.