On 18 November 2020, Dr Derek Summerfield from the Institute of Psychiatry presented a webinar in the CRESIDA seminar series titled ‘Globalising Western ‘mental health’: psychiatry, spirits, ancestors and poverty. Case studies from UK, Zimbabwe, Cambodia’.
The ongoing globalisation of Western psychiatry and psychology trades on universalistic assumptions about ‘mind’. These are at odds with the varying mentalities and interpretations of adversity that shape the worlds of non-Western people worldwide, as do the everyday imperatives of poverty. This is a form of imperialism, and Western-style counselling the new missionary activity. I will examine the practical consequences of this globalisation, using examples like ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘depression’, in my native Zimbabwe, UK and Cambodia.