Social Class and Mental Illness in a Neoliberal Era

  • Philip Browning Helsel
Part of the New Approaches to Religion and Power book series (NARP)


In the Frontline documentary film, interviewer Bill Moyers chronicles the lives of Two American Families over a span of two decades in Milwaukee, WI, to explore the impact of the closing of factories and the rise of a low-wage service sector economy.1 One family, the Stanleys, are African American and each parent had jobs at Briggs and Stratton before the factory closed. Once the factory closed, the father took a seven-dollar-an-hour job finishing basements while the mother worked in real estate. They experimented with opening their own business but had to close it because of a lack of interest. Throughout the film, Moyers expertly narrates the rising income inequity, the dissolution of jobs with living-wage pay and benefits, and the social impact on these families’ lives. He notes that all these changes occurred during times of unprecedented growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


Mental Illness Social Class Mental Distress Great Recession Pastoral Care 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Philip Browning Helsel 2015

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