Is the Agenda for Global Mental Health a Form of Cultural Imperialism?, by Gavin Miller

03/01/2014View on timeline


The question whether and how mental illness is universal, as well as the globalization of mental illness and mental health, have given rise to acrimonious controversy (see, for a recent exchange, Miller 2014; Summerfield, 2012, 2014; White 2013).


Independently of local knowledge systems, the misery of people who would be diagnosed as suffering from brain disorders according to ICD or DSM is undeniable, and the way they are treated in many cultures around the world fully warrants the indignation of the Harvard medical anthropologist and cross-cultural psychiatrist Arthur Kleinman (2009), who depicted the current situation as a “failure of humanity.” At the practical field level, making up for such a failure must be a top priority.

Vidal, Fernando and Ortega, Francisco. Being Brains: Making the Cerebral Subject (Forms of Living)....

Dr. Gavin Miller is a professor at the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow.

Dr. Gavin Miller, University of Glasgow

Derek Summerfield is an honorary senior lecturer at London's Institute of Psychiatry and a member of...

Profile: Derek Summerfield, Politics and Psychiatry

Dr. Ross White, Research Director on the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology training programme at the...

Dr. Ross White, University of Liverpool

Learn more about the controversy mentioned by Vidal and Ortega through the articles linked below:

Miller, Gavin. 2014. “Is the Agenda for Global Mental Health a Form of Cultural Imperialism?” Medica...

Derek Summerfield - Why Export Mental Health?
Derek Summerfield - Against "Global Mental Health" (ASI 2012)

Summerfield, Derek. 2012. “Afterword: Against ‘Global Mental Health.’” Transcultural Psychiatry 49 (...

Summerfield, Derek. 2014. “A Short Conversation with Arthur Kleinman About His Support for the Globa...White, Ross. 2013. “The Globalisation of Mental Illness.” The Psychologist 26 (3): 182–185. (PDF)To read the article by Arthur Kleinman, click below:Kleinman, Arthur. 2009. “Global Mental Health: A Failure of Humanity.” The Lancet 374:603–604. (PDF)
Mental Health Access for Women in South Asia and China

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Published in 13/02/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

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