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Building a New Community Psychology of Mental Health: Spaces, Places, People and Activities
Walker, Carl, Angie Hart, and Paul Hanna
Palgrave MacMillan / Springer Nature / Hardcover / 2017-04-01 / 1137360984
Psychiatry / General Practice
price: $137.95 (may be subject to change)
188 pages
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This book explores a range of alternative community based approaches to working with mental distress.Mental health and distress are issues many individuals have to deal with on a daily basis. Whilst formal health provisions provide some respite for individuals suffering from mental distress, the system is far from perfect for all. Drawing on recent developments in critical psychology the chapters propose a new paradigm for mental health, presenting a range of alternative community based approaches, with a clear focus on the spaces, places, people and activities that can be useful in helping to deal with mental distress. Written in an accessible and engaging style this book will appeal to academics, practitioners and policy makers interested in community and social approaches to mental health.

“In this book, Walker, Hart and Hanna present a refreshing critique of conventional responses to mental distress and argue for a radical shift. Through their examination of six diverse community based interventions they point to ways that community and social based approaches break through the dominant technologies of the biomedical approach by providing safe, compassionate, supportive, ‘helpful’ spaces that enable participants to redefine themselves outside of the boundaries of psy Institutions and celebrate their collective resilience. What is demonstrated in the case studies is how participants are resisting and overcoming oppression at the relational level and achieving well-being through these projects, and that alternative therapeutic relationships can be fostered where solidarity is the technology of change. This is valuable reading for students and an excellent resource for community based professionals.” (Liz Cunningham, President, European Community Psychology Association)

“Libraries around the world are full of psychology books written by distinguished scholars. Yet, the vast majority of these scholarly books offer a poor understanding of human distress and suffering. What is missing is the complex interplay of social-psychological experiences that are shaped by specific historical, cultural, political and economic dynamics. This book aims to fill this gap by offering a much-needed and more humane paradigm based on informal community and socially oriented approaches to psychological distress and well-being. This easy-to-read book is intended for a wide audience but it would be specifically useful in helping psychology students think about the psychological experiences of human beings in social, political and community terms.” (Professor Serdar Degirmencioglu, Former President of the European Community Psychology Association)<

“Using a beguiling combination of good humour and serious analysis, the authors make the case firmly for the value of informal community-based practice of mental health care. This is a rich and compelling text which will be of enormous interest to academics, practitioners and service-users alike.” (Professor Steven Brown, University of Leicester, UK)

About the Authors:

Carl Walker is Principle Lecturer in Psychology and course leader for the MA Community Psychology at the University of Brighton, UK. Carl sits on the British Psychological Society national Community Psychology section committee and is chair of the European Community Psychology Association group on austerity and mental health. Recently he co-founded the national group ‘Psychologists against Austerity’.

Angie Hart is Professor of Child, Family and Community Health at the University of Brighton, UK. Together with students, practitioners and community members, she has researched and published widely on resilience approaches to mental health. She co-founded Boingboing a not for profit organisation which supports resilience based practice (

Paul Hanna is Chartered Psychologist and Lecturer in Sustainable Tourism at the University of Surrey, UK. His main research interests are: identity, community mental health, wellbeing, sustainability, and pro-environmental behaviours. His work has been published in a range of journals including: GeoJournal, Journal of Consumer Culture, Theory & Psychology, Qualitative Research, Qualitative Research in Psychology, and Environmental Economics.

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