Sunday Oddity: “How do you diagnose and treat an illness that doesn’t linguistically exist?”

114 reports on the doings of Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Stanley Kutcher, previously exposed by MIA Blogger Alison Bass for his role as a co-author of the misleading Study 329, and discussed in MIA Reports as co-designer of a highly questionable training program for family physicians. According to the article, Kutcher was recently in the African country of Malawi “to develop a mental health program for rural communities.” Kutcher, however, became “stumped” when he learned “there was no word in Chichewa for depression.”

“How do you diagnose and treat an illness that doesn’t linguistically exist?” According to the article, Kutcher believed it was “a major barrier to mental health care” that “taboo” had apparently prevented the country from developing such a word. “Digging deeper into Malawi’s national language, he found several phrases that described worry and other moods. He enlisted local counsellors and a Malawian psychiatrist to help find ways to broach the topic without provoking fear of ridicule and exclusion.”

Not long after, the article reports, partnering with the non-profit charity Farm Radio International in Malawi, “Dr. Kutcher takes to the airwaves to teach communities about mental health.”

Doc shines light on mental health in poor nations (, November 28, 2014)


  1. If a word, thus concept, doesn’t linguistically exist in a society, then it would strike me as logical that there would be no need to “medically” treat such a nonexistent concept. But that’s not how psychiatry works, they “educate” people about their scientifically invalid “diseases,” so they can torture as many people as possible worldwide with their toxic “wonder drugs.” What a sick joke psychiatry is.

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    • Exactly. There is a reason why people in the Arctic have so many words for all the different kinds of snow and ice.
      It is the arrogant mindset of a colonialist who is about to bring enlightenment to the savages that radiates from this. And we all know how this ends for the “savages” God help people of Malawi.

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    • No, it’s more obvious that the people of Malawi are in serious “denial”, and are OBVIOUSLY suffering from “agnosophosia”, or whatever that bogus neo-logism is…..
      Hey, if drugs have been invented, why not the words used to excuse and justify those drugs?
      And, I still like the Q?:
      “Are “mental illnesses” DISCOVERED, -or- INVENTED….????….
      If you think about it, I believe that you will agree, that it must be one or the other….
      I still say you more academically capable Docs need to get together and draft a Global-scale, Nuremburg-style indictment of the pseudo-science of psychiatry….Get the few good ones, who are ALL here on MIA, to help!….

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  2. Well, now that such specialists and outstanding clinicians as Mr Kutcher are there I’m sure there will be a lot of new words for depression in Malawi. I wonder how you say “tardive dyskinesia”, “suicidal ideation” or “metabolic syndrome” in the local dialect?

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  3. Ah, but do they have a word for “arrogant, imperialistic, condescending pseudo-professional asshole” yet? Perhaps we need to help them develop that term…

    Honestly, this is cultural arrogance in the extreme. It sounds like they have words to describe the emotional states that they experience, but haven’t lumped them all together into a “disease” and see them as natural responses to the challenges of life.

    I wish we were so fortunate as to not have a word for depression! Perhaps they have a thing or two to teach our “modern” society.

    —- Steve

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  4. No one anywhere in the world is safe from western psychiatry and the forces of Big Pharma. Everyone is up for grabs and being drugged to the gills. When and where is all this going to stop? Here in the United States our children are not safe from these forces and we do nothing about it. Now these forces are colonizing the rest of the world that was once free from these stupidities, lies and falsehoods.

    I believe that Ted C. here on Mad in America is right. It’s time for a revolution. We can no longer beg for psychiatry and the forces of pharma to dialogue with us; they have no intention of ever dialoguing with us. They only plan to drug us to the point that we become a docile society peopled with people who follow and do exactly what we’re told to do. We must protect our own children and the rest of the world from this corruption.

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