The active involvement of those people who have at one time used, or who continue to use, mental health services has come to be seen as a central feature of both the policy and the practice of modern mental health care. However, while those people who use mental health services may face a variety of obstacles to active participation in their care and in the provision of mental health services more generally, this paper will draw on the work of Gilles Deleuze, arguably one of the most important philosophers of the late 20th century, to suggest that the language of psychiatry – and, in particular, the attendant valuations or ‘sense’ of psychiatry's diagnostic categories – serve to restrict the participation of people in their individual care and in the provision of mental health services. Accordingly, it will be suggested that the challenge, as well as the opportunity, that confronts mental health nurses is to facilitate greater, more active user participation by practising in a manner that elicits the resources, capabilities and potential that service users possess, thereby challenging the prevailing and restrictive sense of the diagnostic categories by which people are identified, and by which they come to identify themselves.
- Theory development
- User involvement