ABSTRACT

Currently, ‘mental health’ professionals’ energy is focused on fitting very abstract and generic groups of ‘symptoms’ into abstract categories of ‘disorders’. This Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders focus on categorization has also distracted professionals from observing more specific details of people and their contexts. The local issues can be dealt with by many people known to those involved or by many sorts of professionals, and do not usually need specialists. There are some interventions that seek to predict which individuals are likely to develop ‘mental illnesses’ and do something to prevent this. There are innumerable ways to solve local conflicts that are usually about resources, social relationships, or linking these into resource–social relationship pathways, and most carers, counsellors, social workers, clinical psychologists, have skills for this. Social workers have usually spent more time than other professionals with people in their own world and helped them more ‘on the ground’ to solve their life problems and bad situations.