A Local Critique of Global Mental Health

  • China MillsEmail author
  • Bhargavi Davar
Part of the International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice book series (IPSPAP)


The World Health Organization and the Movement for Global Mental Health are advocating to ‘scale up’ mental health services, with particular emphasis on increasing access to psychiatric drugs within the global South (Lancet Global Mental Health Group 2007; Patel et al. 2011). Amid these calls, others can be heard, from local and global movements of psychiatrised peoples: people globally who have been psychiatrically diagnosed and often subjected to ‘treatments’, including institutionalisation and/or medical or surgical interventions, sometimes administered forcibly.This chapter seeks to problematise Global Mental Health by questioning how a single model can claim to account for, and ‘treat’, psychosocial distress experienced globally, and specifically in contexts of persistent poverty and entrenched inequality. The chapter documents and explores localised ways of knowing and supporting people in distress through the work of survivor-led and disabled people’s organisations in the global South (with a specific focus on India). In mobilising the local to critique ‘global’ mental health, the chapter seeks to map possibilities for transnational advocacy in formulating resistance.


Global mental health WHO Medicalisation Mental health Medical treatment India Psychiatrisation Colonialism 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldUK
  2. 2.Centre for Advocacy in Mental Health, Bapu TrustPuneIndia

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