Presentation on theme: "Sociology of mental illness"— Presentation transcript:
1 Sociology of mental illness Week 22Sociology of Health and Illness
2 Recap Thought about how health and illness are structured by society Considered the ‘sick role’, medicalisation, surveillance medicine and ‘lay’ understandings of healthConsidered social inequalities and healthThe impact of chronic illness and disability
3 Outline Look at mental health and illness as social categories Consider to what extent ‘diagnosis’ is linked to normative ideasLook at the anti-psychiatry movement
4 What is mental illness?What does the term mental illness mean to you?
5 Popular conceptions of mental illness Often the vision we have of mental illness is linked to ideas of:HallucinationsDelusionsThreatening and/or disturbed behaviourAcute withdrawal or anxiousnessDrug and/or alcohol dependency
6 Defining mental illness The diagnosis of mental illness is not always straightforwardIdentification of people who are finding difficulty with ‘normal’ expectationsSociology of mental health looks at the ways in which categories come into existence, who gets diagnosed and how they are treated
7 Normative expectations? What sort of behaviours count?How are they linked to ideas current in wider societyDrapetomaniaHomosexualityEpilepsySexual promiscuity
8 What do you think about these historical categories of mental illness? Do you think it is possible that behaviour which we define as mental illness will be seen in future as ‘wrong’?
9 Gender and mental health Statistics show that the diagnosis of mental disorders is genderedWomen are more likely to be diagnosed as having depression, anxiety or somatic complaints.Men are more likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder or be alcohol dependantRisk factors for mental illness are genderedFor women: violence, socioeconomic disadvantage, subordinate social status and unremitting responsibility for the care of others have all been highlight
10 Feminist theories of mental health Feminism has understood mental illness as:a consequence of social oppressiona social constructBoth consider it as an outcomeof social processes
11 Consequences of social oppression? Social & economic circumstances associated with onset of depression in women.Long term implications of life events?Low self-esteem/inability to cope interacts with life events to produce depression.Working class women at greatest risk.
12 Consequences of social oppression? Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is more common in women that menLinked to high levels of sexual violenceDSM IV names ‘rape’ as a possible trigger for PTSD but not domestic violenceWomen with PTSD reported have a greater symptom burden and longer course of illness
13 Mental illness as social construct Studies have point out how frustration, unhappiness or rebellion labelled as mental illness in women.Women who fail to comply with normative prescriptions of typical feminine behaviour judged as mentally ill.
14 Judged on femininity‘Care with make-up and hair style were seen to be clear indications of getting better, likewise wanting marriage and children were viewed by some as part of recovery. I know of individuals who have been told that their problem would get easier if they acquired a boyfriend’In Foster, Women and the Health Care Industry
15 To what extent do you think that normative ideas about feminine behaviour impact of the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness?
16 Racism and mental health Statistics show that the diagnosis of mental disorders is related to ethnicityAsian women high rates of depression and suicideBlack men higher rates of schizophreniaRisk factors for mental illness have been related to racismSocioeconomic disadvantage, subordinate social status and stereotyping
17 Racism and mental health Institutional racism has been diagnosed within mental health careMental health outcomes for Black patients are shown to be poorerBlack groups are more likely than white people to go into specialist mental health care by coercion
18 David ‘Rocky’ BennettAn African-Caribbean man who was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia.He made reports of being harassed and bullied by other patientsHe was over-medicated (causing low blood pressure) particularly as he was seen as a nuisanceHis cultural, racial, social needs were ignoredNo attempt was made to engage his family in his care and treatment.After a incident started by another patient hewas restrained, collapsed and died
19 Treatment by psychiatric services Independent Inquiry into death of David Bennett found institution racismCensus of inpatients in 2005:9% of in-patients were Black or mixed black-white ethnicity (3% of national pop)Black patients were 44% more likely to have been sectioned & 50% more likely to have been put in seclusionBlack Caribbean men were 29% more likely to have been subject to control and restraint.
20 How important do you think racism is in explaining the rates, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in minority-ethnic people?
21 Anti-psychiatry movement The Anti-psychiatry has a long history.It highlights psychiatry as using medical tools for social conditionsIt focuses on coercion and the targeting of marginalised populationsBecame prominent in the 1960s and 1970s and today often focuses on the role of pharmaceutical companies
22 Anti-psychiatry movement R.D.LaingSchizophrenia as understandable reaction to conflicts between family and self or through trauma.Thomas SzaszMental illness a ‘metaphor’Label for deviation from social norms‘Problems’ cause by rigid societyPsychiatry as a tool of social andpolitical control.
23 SummaryConsider how mental health and illness and closely linked to social categoriesConsidered gender and racism in diagnosis and treatmentLook at the opposition in the anti-psychiatry movement