Decolonising global mental health: the role of Mad Studies
In recent years, there has been a growing and high-profile movement for ‘global mental health’. This has been framed in ‘psych system’ terms and had a particular focus on what has come to be called the ‘Global South’ or ‘low and middle-income countries’. However, an emerging ‘Mad Studies’ new social movement has also developed as a key challenge to such globalising pressures. This development, however, has itself both being impeded by some of the disempowering foundations of a global mental health approach, as well as coming in for criticism for itself perpetuating some of the same problems as the latter. At the same time, we are also beginning to see it and related concepts like the UNCRPD being given new life and meaning by Global South activists as well as Global North activists. Given such contradictions and complexities, the aim of this paper is to offer an analysis and explore ways forward consistent with decolonizing global mental health and addressing madness and distress more helpfully globally, through a Mad Studies lens.