Global Mental Health – The Hypocrisy of Mental Health in The Age of Austerity

An interview with Dr. China Mills, author of Decolonizing Global Mental Health.

Zenobia Morrill
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This week, MIA Radio presents the third in a series of interviews on the topic of the “global mental health” movement. This series is being developed through a UMASS Boston initiative supported by a grant from the Open Society Foundation.

Part one of the series featured Dr. Melissa Raven and part two featured Jhilmil Breckenridge and Dr. Bhargavi Davar. The interviews are being led by UMASS PhD students who also comprise the Mad in America research news team.

 

Zenobia Morrill writes:

In this episode, we interview Dr. China Mills. China participated in organizing the open letter in response to The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development. In this interview, China shares her concerns and reactions to the Lancet’s proposal, elaborating on deeper issues related to the framing of global mental health as a “burden” and the underlying implications of coloniality, technology, and medicalization. In addition, China tells us about her insider perspectives after attending the Global Mental Health Ministerial Summit hosted by the UK government. In her recent piece for Mad in Asia about the summit, she writes:

“It was ironic to listen to a range of UK Government minsters talk about the importance of mental health whilst sat in a room just over the river from Westminster, where governmental decisions to cut welfare, and sanction and impoverish disabled welfare claimants has so detrimentally impacted people’s mental health and led to suicide. It felt like arrogance on the part of the UK Government to position themselves as world leaders in mental health when in 2016, the UN found that the Government’s austerity policies had enacted ‘grave’ and ‘systematic violations of the rights of persons with disabilities’. It was equally jarring, given the cuts to social security under austerity, to be transported by boat about 2 minutes away, to an evening drinks reception at the Tate gallery.”

China Mills is a Lecturer in the School of Education, University of Sheffield, UK. Her research develops the framework of psychopolitics to examine the way mental health gets framed as a global health priority. In 2014, she published the book ‘Decolonizing Global Mental Health’ and has since published widely on a range of topics including: the inclusion of mental health in the sustainable development goals; the quantification of mental health and its construction as a technological problem; welfare-reform, austerity and suicide; and the intersections of psychology, security and curriculum. She is Principal Investigator on two British Academy funded projects researching the social life of algorithmic diagnosis and psy-technologies. China is a member of the editorial collective for Asylum magazine and for the journal, Critical Social Policy; and she is a Fellow of the Sheffield Institute for International Development (SIID).

3 COMMENTS

  1. “Global Mental Health” What is that really about ?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsAgdOI-T3A

    “To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family tradition, national patriotism, and religious dogmas… The re-interpretation and eventual eradication of the concept of right and wrong which has been the basis of child training, the substitution of intelligent and rational thinking for faith in the certainties of the old people, these are the belated objectives… for charting the changes in human behavior.” George Brock Chisholm (1896-1971), head of the World Health Organization, Psychiatry (1946)

    “Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would have wished … The social psychologist of the future will have a number of classes of school children on whom they will try different methods of producing an unshakable conviction that snow is black. Various results will soon be arrived at: first, that influences of the home are ‘obstructive’ and verses set to music and repeatedly intoned are very effective … It is for the future scientist to make these maxims precise and discover exactly how much it costs per head to make children believe that snow is black. When the technique has been perfected, every government that has been in charge of education for more than one generation will be able to control its subjects securely without the need of armies or policemen.” Bertrand Russell quoting Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the head of philosophy & psychology who influenced Hegel and others — Prussian University in Berlin, 1810

    “…through schools of the world we shall disseminate a new conception of government — one that will embrace all of the collective activities of men; one that will postulate the need for scientific control and operation of economic activities in the interests of all people.” Harold Rugg, student of psychology and a disciple of John Dewey

    “Education does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know — it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave.” National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) sponsored report: The Role of Schools in Mental Health

    “The educational system should be a sieve, through which all the children of a country are passed. It is highly desirable that no child escape inspection.” Paul Popenoe, Behavioral Eugenist and co-author: “Sterilization for Human Betterment”