Critical Perspectives on Mental Health

Explore the notions of mental health and well-being.

Mental health’ is a broad but often misunderstood category. In this course, we introduce you to the various meanings and debates around mental health, mental illness and notions of well-being. We will take a look at the different ways in which mental health is approached by communities, the state (in its policies), and medical establishments. For this, we examine socially and culturally normative notions of ability’, productivity’ and normalcy’, probing how these come to influence actions that intervene in mental health. This course uses data and information from cultural psychiatry, medical anthropology, social work, law and public health. We use video testimony, memoir, autobiographical fiction, theatre and film, to think about how public health interventions, advocacy, and social justice take place. Finally, we examine how social identity can shape the individual’s mental health and well-being.