This week on Mad in America, a series of podcast interviews will be broadcast on the topic of the global ‘mental health’ movement. The following was first published on Mad in America here.
In this episode, we interview Dr. Melissa Raven, who is a psychiatric epidemiologist, policy analyst and postdoctoral research fellow in the Critical and Ethical Mental Health research group at the University of Adelaide, South Australia. Originally qualified as a clinical psychologist, she then worked as a lecturer and researcher in public health and primary health care. Her current mental health research and advocacy is informed by a strong social determinants perspective and a strong critical orientation, which she applies to a range of topics, including suicide prevention, workplace mental health, (over)diagnosis, (inappropriate) prescribing, and conflicts of interest in mental health and the broader health/welfare arena.
On October 10th, 2018, World Mental Health Day, The Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development published a report outlining a proposal to “scale up” mental health care globally. At the same time, the UK government is hosting a Global Mental Health Ministerial Summit with the intention of laying out a course of action to implement these mental health policies 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 critical professionals, psychologists, psychiatrists, and researchers.
Listen to Dr. Raven’s thoughts on the matter below: