The Chapters in This Book
Chapter 2 in this book takes some of our critical thinking highlighted in this chapter and provides a theoretical framing for this. We utilise a Martian friend to explore the ways in which we might think differently about mental health and indeed models of the ‘self’. Towards the end of the chapter we start to suggest that the self can be seen as a social, rather than individual, being. While in itself this argument has been made in a variety of places, it enables this book to move on to Chap. 3 in which we explore some of the implications for mental health practice if this alternative understanding of the self and mental health is adopted.
The book then moves on to our research-based chapters. From Chaps. 5 to 9, we draw on a range of empirical material (interviews, focus groups, participant observation) we have collected over the past four years in a range of settings. Such settings include community singing groups, an unemployed family centre project, a fishing project, a support group for parents of children with disabilities and complex needs, a cycling group for people with mental health problems, and organisations taking a positive view on the practice of sex. Whilst all of these settings are clearly very different, and as you will see, our accounts of them are also very different; we hope these empirical chapters will offer an assemblage of the core social fabric that underlies each setting and which we feel can deeply benefit the individuals that use them.
Finally, our conclusion chapter attempts to offer a summary of the data we offer up in this book to provide some hint at the ways in which we feel mental health practice might be more usefully understood in the future.
Firstly, let’s get to our Martian friend...