During the 1970s the National Association for Mental Health (NAMH) re-labelled itself MIND, becoming a rights-based organisation, critiquing psychiatry and emphasising patients’ citizenship. Its transformation has been coloured by attributions of the influence of anti-psychiatry. This article argues that the relevance of anti-psychiatry has been over-simplified. It examines MIND’s history as part of the psychiatric strategy known as mental hygiene. This movement’s agenda can be understood as paradigmatic of much that anti-psychiatry renounced. However, building on the sociologist Nick Crossley’s description of the interactional nature of Social Movement Organisations in the psychiatric field, this article shows that a ‘discursive transformation’ can be deduced in core elements of mental hygienist thinking. This transformation of discourse clearly prefigured important elements of anti-psychiatry, and also fed into MIND’s rights approach. But it must be appreciated on its own terms. Its distinctiveness under MIND is shown in its application to people with learning disabilities.
- Mental hygiene
- Social movements