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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1-2

Invited Lectures

Date of Web Publication8-Nov-2017

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How to cite this article:
,. Invited Lectures. Indian J Soc Psychiatry 2017;33, Suppl S1:1-2

How to cite this URL:
,. Invited Lectures. Indian J Soc Psychiatry [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Feb 7];33, Suppl S1:1-2. Available from: https://www.indjsp.org/text.asp?2017/33/5/1/217847

Social Psychiatry in Action in a Different World: Reflecting on My Recent Experience of Working in Scotland

Debasish Basu

Department of Psychiatry, PGIMER, Chandigarh, India. E-mail: [email protected]

Social factors are reflected in causation, nosology, diagnosis, management, course and prognosis of psychiatric disorders. They are also reflected in the areas of stigma, carer burden, care pathway, doctor-patient relationship, and care planning. However, the way these social factors operate or manifest themselves can vary widely in different parts of the world. In this talk, I reflect upon my recent experience of working in Scotland and seeing very different sociocultural aspects of psychiatry as reflected in these patient population and their social support systems. Essentially it is about social psychiatry in action in a different part of the globe! So it would be interesting to share the experience and compare and contrast with our scenario. This talk fits in with the conference theme 'cultural diversity and mental health' but in a broader cross-cultural context. I will use a fictitious but representative case vignette from both the diverse cultural and social contexts to explore the role of social factors in psychiatry in another world and draw parallels and contrasts from ours. In the end, I argue why psychiatry was, is, and will remain incomplete without its social dimension, here, there and everywhere.

Keywords: Social psychiatry, cross cultural, different settings

Culture and Mental Health: Perspectives on Culture Impacted Idiom of Women's Mental Distress

Nandarani Choudhury

Assistant Registrar, National Law University and Judicial Academy, Guwahati, Assam, India. E-mail: [email protected]

This paper moots the argument that mental health of individuals (in the context of the present deliberation, the women) is substantially impacted by the socio-cultural context they are nested in. Pursuant to the argument posited, the paper explores possession and trancing - commonly categorized as dissociative disorders in psychiatric parlance - not so much as psychopathologies but as culturally conditioned metaphoric expressions of distress. Assuming a socio-anthropological stance, the paper brings to relief the idea that dissociative behaviours such as possession and trancing are idioms of distress, i.e. cultural mechanisms of experiencing and expressing distress in local worlds, largely exploited by women. Women, whose lives are characterized by suppression and low social negotiability, more often than not, exploit such dissociative behaviours as symbolic expression of the distress they experience because of their inferior social position and the inert impulses they fail to flagrantly articulate in their real life situations. Whereas from the perspective of a psychiatrist, possession and trancing behaviours may be viewed as abnormal, psychotic, and symptomatic of mental disorder, social anthropologists present a differing view by indicating at the structural dynamics that shape such behaviours. The mainstay of this paper is that culture bound dissociative behaviour ought not to be conceptualized as psychopathology as they have their rationale and relevance in the specific cultural context they are rooted in. In specific cultural milieu, the socially weak protagonists, in the present context the women, recourse to dissociative behaviours such as possession and trancing as ameliorative mechanisms intended to modulate their circumstances in an otherwise uncontrollable and generally depriving or oppressive condition.

Keywords: Culture, mental health, women, idioms of distress

Culture in Mental Health and Mental Illness

Kamal Nath

Department of Psychiatry, Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Silchar, Assam, India. E-mail: [email protected]

Here an attempt has been made to understand the impact of culture on mental health and as well as in mental illness. The cultural diversity though poses many challenges, it also offers many advantages to the individual members of the society. Starting from the development of concept of right and wrong, beauty and ugly, justice and injustice to the concept of duties and responsibilities – both individual as well as social, also emerges from the culture only. All the human values and virtues are deeply ingrained and indebted to our society and culture. Not to speak of group activity but many an individual glorious effort and achievement are linked with background cultural and societal aspirations and exclamations.

On the other hand, the concept and criteria of normality also changes from culture to culture and we, the mental health care giver must remain aware of the fact. With the rapid change of political ideology and economic system, the world is witnessing an extremely fast changes in culture and its value system, and a new code of normality and abnormality is called for to understand and explain this phenomenon.

Apart from having few discrete culture bound syndrome, every culture plays a role in many mental illnesses from the point of its genesis to its manifestation, and management. Cultural acceptance and approval of an illness, plays a major role in determining the next steps of management and thereby long term course and prognosis. The culture also plays an important role in various stages of mental retardation from its etiology to its management. In addition, we must also understand that the very critical doctor patient relationship is also heavily influenced by the background of culture which in turn definitely influences the quality of health care services.

At the end, it is the culture only where from we learn the basics of positive mental health and must try to enrich the culture as much as possible so that every member can leave with all the mindfulness with pride but without any prejudices.

Keywords: Culture, mental health, mental illness

Farmers Suicide in India

Dipesh Bhagabati, Jayshrita Bhagabati

Retired Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, Gauhati Medical College, Guwahati, Assam. E-mail: [email protected]

A farmer is one, who engages in agriculture, raising living materials for food or raw materials (e.g. raising crops, orchards, livestock), A farmer might own the land or work on land owned by others. A farmer may also be a person who owns land and employs farmhands to work on his land.

Agriculture provides the principal means of livelihood for over 60 percent of India's population. As per National Crime Records Bureau, the number of suicides by farmers and farm labourers increased to 12,360 in 2014, against 11,772 in 2013. Of these suicides, 5,650 were farmers suicides.

Various reasons have been attributed for this, like total dependence on monsoon, lack of irrigation facilities leading to failed crop, burden of agricultural loans, high rate of loans taken from private moneylenders, adoption of expensive technologies leading to higher cost of cultivation.

Efforts like loan waiver have been made to mitigate the sufferings of farmers. Short term solutions like these are unlikely to be enough. Carefully planned out long term measures have to be implemented to prevent farmers suicide in India.

Keywords: Suicide, farmers, India


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