Global social constructions on mental health

I have been reaching more on social construction specific to overall behavior, deviant behavior and mental illness. This intersects with global mental health and global mental illness and how other cultures view health.  Family, work values, family roles, community involvement all play a role in how a culture views different behaviors. It is widely known that people in areas such as Asia or countries in Africa have less issues with mental illness.  Why is this?  Does it only have to do with the DSM? Does it only have to do with people flocking to a psychiatrist when they feel bad? I think it is something more.

” Rates ranged from 26.4 percent of people in the United States to 8.2 percent of people in Italy. While Nigerians appeared to have the lowest prevalence of mental illness — 4.7 percent — the researchers think the actual number is likely much higher since residents of the violence-prone West African nation may be hesitant to confide in strangers.” http://www.nbcnews.com/id/5111202/ns/health-mental_health/t/global-study-finds-mental-illness-widespread/#.VA3MDPldUxE

I think this goes back to family, community and the values we put on things in our world. Do we value work more than family? Do we value autonomy more than community?  How do we view gender roles?  This issue does cross the “nature/nurture” debate that I have found goes on often in this profession.  I’m going to assume that this is a debate (if behavior is a social construction)  that may be going on between professionals on a monthly basis.

It is not my job to tell you how you should think about social construction at the intersection of mental illness and behavior, all I ask that you do is that you think about it.

Ask questions. And keep on asking questions. Ask questions to the answers (and the conclusions) you have drawn.  I have two articles that I want to link to this. Both are short articles but worth the read.

http://askdrj.com/weblog/2010/2/14/social-construction-of-mental-illness-social-and-cultural-as.html

And this little blurb:

FINDING PATTERNS: IT’S ALL RELATIVE

Another variable that has strong predictive power, at least for mood disorders, has to do with what you’ve got, compared to the people around you. Kessler says, for example, that if your house is worth $500,000 but everyone else in your neighborhood has $1 million homes, this factor alone is one of the best predictors of depression. But when everyone is in the same boat, no matter how humble or lowly the quarters, there’s typically a lot less depression. Therefore, it’s not the objective conditions of life that matter, it’s your subjective perception of how you measure up -– or what you “lack.” http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2011/10/why-more-americans-suffer-from-mental-disorders-than-anyone-else/246035/#slide5
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One thought on “Global social constructions on mental health

  1. I don’t even understand the terminology so I have no comment . . .
    On a prior discussion – heard a dialogue about students with depression and no longer being supported by religous communities when coming out as LGBTQ to the gist of “having the all-encompassing religous community support and then losing it along with family support leaves the young person ill-equipped to withstand the buffets of life because they have been so isolated and protected.”
    Don’t know if I buy it totally, but it certainly rang true when I heard it . . .

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