What role should US psychiatric categories play in mental health law?

What role should US psychiatric categories play in mental health law?


November 21, 2018
Godfrey Thomson Hall, Thomson’s Land, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ

Psychiatric diagnoses sometimes seem to be everywhere. Often the categories discussed within healthcare settings and popular culture are the ones listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – the DSM. How, though, are DSM diagnoses really used outside the US - and especially in mental health law? Perhaps more importantly, how should they be used?

The half day event, organised by Martyn Pickersgill Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society, will include talks from three academics who will put forward their perspectives. But the purpose of this event isn’t just to hear academics talking about their work. Rather, these short presentations aim to stimulate wider audience discussion about the intersections between mental health, diagnosis, and the law.

Following brief talks from each researcher, there will be an hour where the audience will be invited to put forward questions and reflections to each other about what they would like Scottish mental health law to look like – and what role, if any, US psychiatric categories should play within that.


  • Peter Bartlett, University of No ngham
  • Jill Stavert, Edinburgh Napier University
  • Penelope Weller, RMIT University, Australia


9.30 Registration

9.45 Talks

10.45 Coffee Break

11.00 Participant Discussion

11.45 Closing Comments

12.00 Close


To register, and to let us know of any access or other requirements, please email martyn.pickersgill@ed.ac.uk