Left Forum: Neoliberalism and Psychiatry. How Do We Respond?

Left Forum: Neoliberalism and Psychiatry. How Do We Respond?

Neoliberalism and Psychiatry. How Do We Respond?

Sunday, May 31th, 2015 12:00 pm - 1:50 pm John Jay College of Criminal Justice 524 West 59th Street New York, NY 10019

NYC Icarus Project Organizer/Co-founder Sascha DuBrul, members of the Radical Caucus of the American Psychiatric Association, and the Critical Psychiatry Network, will discuss the implications of neoliberalism with respect to psychological well-being and the possibilities for professional and grass-roots responses to its impact. First, we will briefly discuss the origin and scope of neoliberalism. Next, we will “connect-the-dots” between neoliberal policy and psychiatry. Using Link and Phelan’s work on fundamental causes we will demonstrate how the individual focus (“microsocial” level) in psychiatry—encouraged and promoted by neoliberal’s approach to research and care—has resulted in an emphasis on proximal(“downstream’) causes of disorders and distress but has largely ignored distal(“upstream”) causes created by broader social structures. The latter includes not only sociopolitical entities and policies but also the language and attitudes that serve as social conduits and barriers. Last, we will discuss ways in which consumers and mental health providers have responded to the impact of neoliberalism, and examine various tactics and strategies that are necessary for effective practice. Persons attending this session will be encouraged to propose solutions.

Reading List:

Link BG, Phelan J. Social conditions as fundamental causes of disease.J Health Soc Behav. 1995;Spec No:80-94. Metzl JM, Hansen H. Structural competency: theorizing a new medical engagement with stigma and inequality.Soc Sci Med. 2014;103:126-33. Cohen C.I., Tamimi S. (Eds.) Liberatory Psychiatry. Philosophy, Politics, and Mental Health. London, Cambridge University Press 2008. Lewis, B. Depression. Integrating Science, Culture, and Humanity.Routledge, 2011.


Speakers/Co-Facilitators: Kenneth Thompson Bradley Lewis Amjad Hindi Sascha Altman DuBrul