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Wed Nov 15, 2017, 07:27 PM

A mad world: capitalism and the rise of mental illness

http://www.redpepper.org.uk/a-mad-world-capitalism-and-the-rise-of-mental-illness/



Mental illness is now recognised as one of the biggest causes of individual distress and misery in our societies and cities, comparable to poverty and unemployment. One in four adults in the UK today has been diagnosed with a mental illness, and four million people take antidepressants every year. ‘What greater indictment of a system could there be,’ George Monbiot has asked, ‘than an epidemic of mental illness?’

The shocking extent of this ‘epidemic’ is made all the more disturbing by the knowledge that so much of it is preventable. This is due to the significant correlation between social and environmental conditions and the prevalence of mental disorders. Richard Bentall, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool, and Peter Kinderman, president of the British Psychological Society, have written compellingly about this connection in recent years, drawing powerful attention to ‘the social determinants of our psychological wellbeing’. ‘The evidence is overwhelming,’ notes Kinderman, ‘it’s not just that there exist social determinants, they are overwhelmingly important.’

A sick society

Experiences of social isolation, inequality, feelings of alienation and dissociation, and even the basic assumptions and ideology of materialism and neoliberalism itself are seen today to be significant drivers – reflected in the titles of a number of recent articles and talks on this subject, such as those of consultant psychotherapist David Morgan’s groundbreaking Frontier Psychoanalyst podcasts, which have included discussions on whether ‘Neoliberalism is dangerous for your mental health’, and ‘Is neoliberalism making us sick?’

Clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Jay Watts observes in the Guardian that ‘psychological and social factors are at least as significant and, for many, the main cause of suffering. Poverty, relative inequality, being subject to racism, sexism, displacement and a competitive culture all increase the likelihood of mental suffering. Governments and pharmaceutical companies are not as interested in these results, throwing funding at studies looking at genetics and physical biomarkers as opposed to the environmental causes of distress. Similarly, there is little political will to combine increasing mental distress with structural inequalities, though the association is robust and many professionals think this would be the best way to tackle the current mental health epidemic’.

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Reply A mad world: capitalism and the rise of mental illness (Original post)
Starry Messenger Nov 2017 OP
Herb Spence Nov 2017 #1

Response to Starry Messenger (Original post)

Tue Nov 28, 2017, 09:53 AM

1. Is being well-adjusted to a sick society

 

really something we should aspire to be though?

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