March 28th, 2016

A "Sick" Society Produces "Sick" Citizens

To make matters worse, research shows that exclusively biological theories of mental illness contribute to the stigma experienced by mental health patients, which I know you want to reduce [27]. The more that ordinary people think of mental illness as a genetically determined brain condition, and the less they recognise it to be a reaction to misfortune, the more they shun mental health patients. The biomedical model of mental illness, which your programme showcased, makes it all too easy to believe that humans belong to two sub-species: the mentally well and the mentally ill.

Finally, the biomedical approach entirely neglects the public health dimension of mental illness. Given the evidence from epidemiological studies, we can almost certainly dramatically reduce the prevalence of mental illness in the population by, for example, addressing childhood poverty and inequality, figuring out which aspects of the urban environment are toxic (you might or might not be surprised to know that living close to a park appears to provide some protection against mental illness [28]) and by ensuring that all of our children experience more benign childhoods than the ones we experienced. We cannot do any of these things if we spend all of our time peering into test tubes.

 -- Richard Bentall

What I wish Stephen Fry understood about mental health | Spectator Health My great thanks to amaebi for her frequent priming of my aging mental facilities.

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