This conference is driven by our belief that fundamental changes are needed if people who experience psychosis are to have their psychological and social care needs met adequately. The following statement, our ‘Liverpool Declaration’ sets out our beliefs about the kind of changes that are needed. Individuals and organisations who would like to express their support, please pledge support here.
ISPS Liverpool Declaration
We share a number of core principles and positions:
The nature of psychosis: We believe that the current paradigm in understanding the causes and nature of psychosis focuses too much on biological perspectives and not enough on social and psychological perspectives. Social and psychological experiences continue to be viewed as simply ‘triggering’ underlying disease processes, a perspective no longer supported by research. We believe that the time has come to reverse the balance – which we believe will lead to a fuller and more accurate understanding of these conditions. A more accurate understanding of the causes and nature of Psychosis will be found by emphasizing psychological and social perspectives, while not ignoring biological perspectives
The treatment of psychosis: We believe that the preferred treatment of psychosis should be social and psychological interventions, with biological interventions (including medications) used sparingly,. There is now strong evidence for the efficacy of non-medical interventions, which should always be a part of every treatment plan for a person diagnosed with a psychotic disorder
Prevention of psychosis: We believe that the most efficient and cost-effective means of reducing or preventing psychosis would be to develop programs to help families and societies raise their young children, to minimize the adverse experiences that are now clearly related to the development of psychosis.
The role of the person diagnosed: We believe that individuals diagnosed with psychotic disorders (or any other mental disorder) are no less a person and no less deserving of respect than those not given a diagnosis. They, and their family (if supportive), must be as involved as much as possible in decisions about their treatment. Collaboration should be the hallmark of any approach, and persons should be offered as much choice as possible about how best to deal with the problems they are experiencing.
Political and social action: On the basis of these positions, we commit to advocate for more social and psychological approaches to the psychoses, and to increasing the public and professional understanding of psychosis as being largely a response to life experiences. We commit to advocate to government agencies for this to happen, to support research consistent with this perspective, and to use media and respond to media stories when appropriate. We support the increasing expectation of at least parity with physical health in the provision of resources for mental health disorders and for research. Resources for psychosocial interventions should be proportionate to the evidence base for their effectiveness.
We hope that the implementation of these principles could lead to a paradigm shift in the treatment and understanding of those among us who experience psychotic symptoms or who are diagnosed with psychotic disorders.
ISPS, July 2017.