Global Mental Health: An Old System Wearing New Clothes


This week, MIA Radio presents the second 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. The interviews are being led by UMASS PhD students who also comprise the Mad in America research news team.


Justin Karter writes:

On October 9th and 10th, 2018, World Mental Health Day, the UK government hosted a Global Mental Health Ministerial Summit with the intention of laying out a course of action to implement mental health policies globally. In the same week, The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development published a report outlining a proposal for “scaling up” mental health care globally. In response, a coalition of mental health activists and service-users have organized an open letter detailing their concerns with the summit and report. The response has attracted the support of policy-makers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and researchers.

In the last episode, we were joined by Dr. Melissa Raven, a critical psychologist and epidemiologist, who discussed problems with the scientific evidence base used by the global mental health movement. She also emphasized the need to consider responses to the distress and suffering of people globally that address the social determinants of mental health, including poverty, education, and healthcare.

Today we turn our focus to the concerns raised by mental health activists in response to the UK summit and the Lancet report. To discuss these issues, we are joined first by Jhilmil Breckenridge, a poet, writer and mental health activist and later by social science researcher Dr. Bhargavi Davar.

Jhilmil is the Founder of Bhor Foundation, an Indian charity, which is active in mental health advocacy, the trauma-informed approach, and enabling other choices to heal apart from the biomedical model. Jhilmil also heads a team leading Mad in Asia Pacific; this is an online webzine working for better rights, justice and inclusion for people with psychosocial disability in the Asia Pacific region. She is currently working on a PhD in Creative Writing in the UK and, for the last three years, she has also been leading an online poetry as therapy group for women recovering from domestic violence. She is working on a few initiatives, both in the UK and India, taking this approach into prisons and asylums. Her debut poetry collection, Reclamation Song, was published in May 2018.

For our second interview, we are joined by Dr. Bhargavi Davar. She identifies as a childhood survivor of psychiatric institutions in India. She went on to train as a philosopher and social science researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay and has published and co-edited several books, including Psychoanalysis as a Human Science, Mental Health of Indian Women, and Gendering Mental Health, while also producing collections of poems and short stories. Dr. Davar is an international trainer in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the founder of the Bapu Trust for Research on Mind and Discourse in Pune, India. This organization aims to give visibility to user/survivor-centred mental health advocacy and studies traditional healing systems in India.


  1. Continuing to support the “Mental Illness’ fraud is renders the rest… Stopped listening.
    Lancet’s unrolls eugenics based plan stating, “Mental Illness” which r unsupported by science r contagious through three pathways:
    infectious and ecological
    sociocultural communicability

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  2. as the 1% or so grab more and more and everyone else slips downward or has to work frantically to stay level…do you think maybe “mental illness” is just the elites’ way of controlling the masses, at a lower cost than, say, prison or the old school state hospitals?

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    • I think the so called “elite,” formerly known as the “robber barons,” utilize, have miseducated, thus deluded, and unjustly empowered the so called “mental heath professionals” to function as “omnipotent moral busy bodies,” as the “elite” try to bring in their satanic NWO tyranny.

      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
      ― C. S. Lewis

      Today’s overly intrusive, DSM deluded “mental health professionals” are the “omnipotent moral busybodies” about whom C.S. Lewis forewarned us.

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  3. Mental health theory is a political permit to killing psychological people and preserving the status quo of normlacy = strongly antipsychological and egoic materialistic society. Their “proper” simple meat wins with the psychological reality. It is all about the money. They have no shame.

    Mental health theory (apollonian ego as proper state of mind) without phenomenological meaning means only to reject and eliminate the psychological minorities.
    As if we could choose our psychological archetype. We can not, and psychiatry pretends to control those who can not. (The fixation over control, when control is impossible)
    Their life is seen as something alien to simple material egoic people.

    Psychiatry should obey to the laws of the psyche. Economy and money on the second place, before psyche.
    There is no psychological man without phenomenological reality of the psyche. DSM controls psyche, description of the psyche does not exists, because phenomenology of the psyche was destoryed by Kraepelin and Bleuler.
    I see them as subhumans, and their biological fixation is also connected to the lowest instincts even beyond animal jurisdiction. We are supposed to be only a healthy biological tissue (biological machines)
    Without psyche human being is only a biological machine. We have soul, because brain is not a creator of imagination. Our brain, our biology dwell in psychological imagination.

    Biological fixation, scientism, health fixation, rejection of death, rejection of illness, rejection of psychological reality ====apollonic ego fictions.
    They are to childisch to accept psychological reality, too theological, too materialistisc and too stupid. This is cowardice on a great scale

    Read Hillmans Re – visioning psychology, and forget about DSM without phenomenology. Because DSM should be only a map of the psyche, not a system of prejudice and demonisation with empty judgements. Without phenomenology DSM is just a form of dehumanisation, empty nominalism without true meaning.

    Psychopathology does exists, the problem is that apollonian ego simplicity and fundamentalism have destroyed it. And now, we can be only healthy (apollonian ego) or we will remain no one and psychiatry will keep the rights to kill those beyond mental health assumptions..

    This is your fault —–apollonian egoists, PSYCHE IS A HOST FOR YOUR ARROGANCE. You have stolen the proper meaning of the psyche. And you are inquisition with pretensions to medicine.

    ———We are psychological beings in the first place——–.

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