Person Centred Hero

Person-centred approaches to adult mental health: Frontline Briefing (2018)

Published: 01/12/2018

Author: Guthrie L



The purpose of this briefing is to explore person-centred approaches to understanding mental health. There is a wide range of perspectives about mental health and psychiatric diagnoses, and these themes are the subject of active debate. This briefing supports the view that the capacity for mental distress is part of the universal human experience, and that attempts to understand and respond to distress should look beyond the individual, and towards their experiences, relationships, identity, social capital and resources.

Wellbeing, however we choose to define it, is not an intrinsic capacity or quality of an individual, but stems from our social context, our life stories and our connections to others. This briefing does not seek to disregard the knowledge and evidence base of psychiatry, but rather to help adults’ social care practitioners to engage with the debate surrounding mental health.

This difference of viewpoints also extends to the use of language; the terminology preferred by some is rejected by others. It is the intention of this briefing to be inclusive and, above all, to uphold the right of all individuals to describe our experiences in the way which is most meaningful to us.

The current mental health system is arguably organised around the medical model of individualised diagnosis and treatment. Put very simply, a psychiatric diagnosis is made by comparing a person’s current behaviour with descriptions in medical classification manuals. Following the diagnosis, a person may be offered an intervention, usually medication or therapy, or a combination of both. This briefing will outline the medical model, and then offer an explanation of several alternative models, and will conclude with reflections upon the practice implications within adult social care.

Professional Standards

PQS:KSS - Person-centred practice | Effective assessment and outcome based support planning | Direct work with individuals and families | Professional ethics and leadership

CQC - Well led

PCF - Professionalism | Values and ethics | Rights, justice and economic wellbeing | Knowledge | Critical reflection and analysis | Contexts and organisations | Professional leadership

RCOT - Understanding relationship | Identify needs | Develop intervention | Collaborative | Support development

Membership 2


Membership to Research in Practice gives you access to learning and development resources, training opportunities, bespoke support and much more.
Find out more