Primum non nocere. The case for a critical approach to global mental health.
Bracken P, Giller J, Summerfield D. Primum non nocere. The case for a critical approach to global mental health. Epidemiol Psychiatr Sci. 2016 Dec;25(6):506-510. Epub 2016 Aug 15.
The Movement for Global Mental Health (MGMH) argues that there is a moral imperative that psychiatric treatments should be made available to all communities across the world. But psychiatric theories, categories and interventions emerged in the Western world are based on a set of assumptions about the nature of the self and society, nature and the supernatural, health and healing that are not universally accepted. In this paper we argue that there is a stronger moral case for caution with regard to the export of psychiatric thinking. Without a critical interrogation of such thinking the MGMH is at risk of doing a great deal of harm to the diverse, and sometimes fragile, systems of care that already exist across the world.