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The Language of Compassion in Acute Mental Health Care


  • Compassion

Document Type

Published Date

  • 2013


  • In this article we examine the language of compassion in acute mental health care in the United Kingdom. Compassion is commonly defined as being sensitive to the suffering of others and showing a commitment to relieve it, yet we know little about how this is demonstrated in health professional language and how it is situated in the context of acute mental health care services. We report on a corpus-assisted discourse analysis of 20 acute mental health practitioner interview narratives about compassion and find a striking depletion in the use of "compassionate mentality" words, despite the topic focus. The language used by these practitioners placed more emphasis on time pressures, care processes, and organizational tensions in a way that might compromise best practice and point to the emergence of a "production-line mentality."
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