Birmingham Salon


Talking liberty - Escaping the Straitjacket of Mental Health

Saturday 14th October, 1.00 pm - 3.00 pm

Map Room, Cherry Reds, 88-92 John Bright Street, B1 1BN

Free entry but donations welcome. Donations help us to meet speaker travel and room hire costs for our two debate Salon events.

Please book via EventBrite

We are resuming this year's series of discussions based on The Academy of Ideas Letters on Liberty

In his Letter on Liberty, Escaping the Straitjacket of Mental Health, senior lecturer in social work and mental health Ken McLaughlin discusses mental health and liberty from several angles. There is a longstanding critique of the concept of mental health which is that mental health problems are often caused by material and social circumstances, not by individual failings. Secondly, he agrees with the idea that some mental health episodes mean that people are no longer able to respond to reason, and that on a temporary basis they can be deprived of their liberty in order to keep them safe whilst they receive appropriate treatment. However, he points out that once able to return to the community under a Community Treatment Order, they remain in an unsatisfactory hybrid position, "neither patient or citizen, but a diminished hybrid of the two, the 'community patient'." Ken McLaughlin also suggests that a new group of professionals within workplaces and educational establishments benefit from talking up mental health as an issue. 

How far do you agree with these points? Please join us to discuss. We request you read the Letter on Liberty before coming along. However, the arguments made in it will be introduced by Jo Hurlow, who will then also give his response. Josephine Leibrandt will also give her response. 

Jo Hurlow is a Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and President of Birmingham Medicolegal Society.
Josephine Leibrandt is a counsellor and trainee psychotherapist studying an MSc & Advanced Diploma at Newman University. Josephine has also worked on research into anxiety and on services provided to autistic children. 

Rosie Cuckston

Further reading:

Suppressing negative thoughts may be good for mental health after all, University of Cambridge Research News, Sep 2023