Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Palgrave Handbook of Sociocultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health

I see that the Palgrave Handbook of Sociocultural Perspectives on Global Mental Health edited by Ross White, Sumeet Jain, David Orr and Ursula Read has now been published (see here).

The publishers' blurb runs:

This handbook incisively explores challenges and opportunities that exist in efforts aimed at addressing inequities in mental health provision across the globe. Drawing on various disciplines across the humanities, psychology, and social sciences it charts the emergence of Global Mental Health as a field of study. It critically reflects on efforts and interventions being made to globalize mental health policies, and discusses key themes relevant for understanding and supporting the mental health needs of people living in diverse socio-economical and cultural environments. Over three rich sections, the handbook critically engages with Global Mental Health discourses. To help guide future efforts to support mental health and wellbeing in different parts of the world, the third section of the handbook consists of case studies of innovative mental health policy and practice, which are presented from a variety of different perspectives.

My self-centred interest is that I have chapter in it on 'Cross-cultural psychiatry and validity in DSM-5'

The fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, DSM-5, puts greater emphasis than previous editions on cross-cultural factors affecting mental illness [APA 2013]. Diagnostic criteria have been revised to take account of cross-cultural variation, there is a more specific cultural formulation and a glossary lists nine ‘Cultural Concepts of Distress’. But the DSM does not present a clear view of the universal or local constitution of mental illness. Nor does it give an account of the relation of the cultural concepts to the rest of the taxonomy of disorders nor the extent to which they are put forward as valid diagnoses. The first section of this chapter outlines three possible views of the nature of cultural concepts of distress. On one view, which dates back to the German psychiatrist Karl Birnbaum, an underlying universal ‘pathogenic’ component is overlain by a variable ‘pathoplastic’ cultural shape [Birnbaum 1923]. This combination suggests the possibility of two single factor models: pathogenic-only and pathoplastic-only. But, as the second section argues, establishing the correctness of any one of these is difficult. Two influential approaches to the nature of the concept of disorder – Wakefield’s harmful dysfunction analysis and Fulford’s failure of ordinary doing – can be pressed with only minor adjustment to support any of the a priori models of cultural concepts. The final section examines one of the nine cultural concepts: khyal cap or wind attacks, a syndrome found among Cambodians. On inspection none of the three models helps accommodate its own incompatible aetiological theory with the biomedical view of the rest of the DSM. This suggests that the very idea of cultural concepts of distress fits uneasily with the aspirations to validity of the rest of DSM-5.