Salutogenic mental health science—A phoenix rising from the pathogenic ashes of psychiatry?
Helen L. Fisher
As highlighted by several of the papers featured in this current issue of the Journal, psychiatric research and practice is dominated by a pathogenic focus on understanding the origins of mental ill-health and developing interventions to prevent or treat psychopathology. The World Health Organization has called for a paradigm shift to move away from the almost exclusive focus on the absence of illness towards the promotion of mental, physical and social well-being among those with or at risk of psychiatric disorders. Adoption of a salutogenic approach, which focuses on factors and interventions that promote positive health and improve quality of life, has been heralded as the transformation psychiatry requires to achieve this ambitious aim. Looking forward, salutogenic mental health science should harness the power of longitudinal data and analytical techniques, centre lived experience expertise, and take heed of the cautionary tales of its pathogenic predecessor.
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Dr Helen Fisher is the specialist subject editor for psychosis for JCPP, a full profile can be found here.