30. apr, 2019

Depression or deprivation? Different views on mental health

Views on depression show a great variety. Some say the cause is not in our biology but in the way we live. Others believe it is part of the western cultural hegemony, and that Gobal Mental Health is an oxymoron and medical imperialism.  Transcultural psychiatry is still a field in development – and sometimes one still hears echoes of primitive insights from the 1950’s.

This ‘long read’ from the Guardian gives a nice overview of developments in ‘global mental health’ over the last decades. At C4C we think we should indeed go further in the direction of recognizing problems in the way people experience them, rather than using labels from psychiatry that often do not work in the countries where they were invented. “We have to redefine what is a psychological intervention, recognising that for many people, their psychological well-being is embedded in their social world,” Vikram Patel is quoted. “It would be almost unreal for a psychological worker in India to say to a woman whose husband beats her: ‘That is not my concern. I’m only concerned with your negative thoughts.’” Indeed!