Facial affect recognition and mental health
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Facial affect recognition and mental health

Steve Smith Nursing student – mental health, University of Brighton
Alec Grant Principal lecturer, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Brighton

The social isolation experienced by some service users is made worse by their inability to read the emotions of others. Steve Smith and Alec Grant describe how photography can help them

Not being able to accurately detect and respond to the emotions conveyed in the facial expressions of others is a significant issue for many people with mental health problems. Facial affect recognition is crucial to successful social interaction and has an evolutionary and neural basis.

Being unable to read the faces of others accurately contributes to social isolation and a vicious cycle of social impairment, and can be compounded by the effects of medication. This article draws on empirically validated work and suggests initiatives, including the use of photography, which mental health practitioners could use in helping people with facial affect recognition difficulties.

Mental Health Practice. 17, 10, 12-16. doi: 10.7748/mhp.17.10.12.e944



Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 19 October 2013

Accepted: 29 January 2014

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