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Distant voices, still lives: reflections on the impact of media reporting of the cases of Christopher Clunis and Ben Silcock

Ian Cummins (School of Social Work, Psychology and Public Health, University of Salford, UK)

Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care

ISSN: 1757-0980

Article publication date: 31 December 2010

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Abstract

One of the main features of the reform of the Mental Health Act 2007 was the introduction of community treatment orders (CTOs). CTOs represent a fundamental shift in the rights of people with severe mental health problems, who have been detained in hospital under section 3 of the Mental Health Act and subsequently discharged. The call for the introduction of CTOs or similar legislation has been a feature of mental health policy over the past 20 years. Despite the detailed discussion of the relationship between ethnicity and psychiatry, there has been very little attention paid to the way that race was a factor in the community care scandals of the 1990s. This article, through the consideration of two very high profile cases ‐ Christopher Clunis and Ben Silcock, explores the media's influence on the construction of the debate in this area. In particular, it explores the way that the media reporting of the two cases had a role in not only perpetuating racial stereotyping, but also the stigmatising of those experiencing acute mental health problems. In addition, with the use of government papers obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, it considers the response to and the attempts to influence the media debate at that time.

Keywords

Citation

Cummins, I. (2010), "Distant voices, still lives: reflections on the impact of media reporting of the cases of Christopher Clunis and Ben Silcock", Ethnicity and Inequalities in Health and Social Care, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 18-29. https://doi.org/10.5042/eihsc.2011.0074

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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