What the West Can Learn From Developing Countries About ‘Mental Illness’


From The Correspondent: “Like most I was told the answer is that mental illness strikes when there’s a chemical imbalance in the brain. I was also taught that psychiatric medication is the best treatment for this imbalance. It was only when I became a student of that I discovered just how problematic these assumptions really are.

Anthropology helped me understand that and that someone who is perceived as ‘mad’ or ‘sick’ in one culture might be seen as perfectly healthy in another. I learned that my own anxiety might be, in part, the product of an



  1. “….schizophrenia, outcomes – in terms of rates of hospitalisation and homelessness, levels of distress and suicide, and overall wellbeing…”

    There’s quite a lot of hidden recovery from “schizophrenia” in the UK – people that drop out of the MH system, enter into the “main frame” and remain consistently well. I know a lot of people like this and I believe Dr Joanna Moncrieff has written about this phenomenon.

    Schizophrenia is supposed to be a long-term chronic disorder worse than paraplegia and Full Recovery – presents a problem.

    Even though there is no compulsary ‘medication’ consumption in Ireland a lot of people are put on long-term Injections and never recover – as a result.

    Irelands largest export is Pharmaceuticals and some people pay for this with their lives.

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  2. Auditory Hallucinations
    Most fully qualified MH Clinicians in the UK and Ireland that I have come across, cannot tell the difference between:-

    1. An Auditory Hallucination (outside the head)
    2. Normal Social Thought (inside the head)

    And they’re not too bothered either!

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  3. “In the western system, a diagnosis uniquely consumes one’s identity, radically transforming one’s self-perception”

    One accepts name calling as a child, and as a teenager and last but not least, we pay someone to call us more names.
    NO, they are not “diagnosis” , they are simply name calling.

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  4. If you exchange “SCHIZOPHRENIA” for a “NERVOUS BREAKDOWN” what do you get?

    A person suffering a “Nervous Breakdown” will have the same symptoms as “Schizophrenia”, and is unlikely to recover without support.

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