derek summerfield

derek summerfield.png

intro’d to Derek here – via Will Hall rt:

Joanna Moncrieff (@joannamoncrieff) tweeted at 2:45 AM – 6 Nov 2017 :

Diagnoses… are drawn up by us, not by nature‘ Derek Summerfield challenges global mental health movement (


from 2012

terms like mental health become part of our culture.. we don’t interrogate those terms in the west..

mental health

what is a mental disorder ..the majority of discourse around mental disorder is around something which we have no specific idea about causation.. we don’t know what it is.. if we don’t know what it is.. hard to know how to validate it.. or how to show that someone ‘really’ has such a thing.. we talk about mental disorder as if it’s something real and actual and separate from us.. separate from culture and circumstance.. but they’re probably better seen as both culturally and medically derived.. explanatory models.. rhetorical devices.. a way of thinking.. a style of reasoning.. that sort of thing

dis order

scattered.. a way of coping..

1 min – we have this fantastic situation where .. the industry leaders.. talk about mental disorder as something that 1 in 4 of us have.. to me that’s the most preposterous.. the other thing is that the mental health industry in the west.. constantly makes exaggerated claims of prevalence and about the efficacy of its methods..

2 min – it’s really hard to show in methodologies (?) that anti depressants do better than placebo.. yet 1 in 8 of us population is taking an .. anti depressant..

i think anthropologists.. will look back in time and have reason to get a phd and study this extraordinary exercise of societal drain..t

clearly the pharm industry is a big player in all of this.. and would see itself as a big player in the globalizing of these sort of things

sicko et al

the prophetic work of Ivan Illich in the 70s.. his book – medical nemesis – wherein he said in a sense..  the more healthier we get the sicker we are likely to feel..


krishnamurti measure law

hari present in society law

3 min – seems to be something circular.. the more the mental health industry insists that there are lots of mental disorders and people need professional help and people can’t cope on their own.. the less we feel able to cope on our own and the more we therefore claim mental services.. and there’s a circular process.. and i wonder whether this is not a society.. biting its own tail

3 global claims in 2007 seemed to me fantastical.. 1\ up to 1 in 3 on the planet will acquire a disorder.. i think that’s extraordinary and sci fi sort of a term (?).. i think these sort of claims.. which are almost presented as facts already are just industry advertising.. that’s what they really function as..

4 min – the hidden.. presumably largely hidden from the millions of people supposed to be carrying them.. and the western expert.. knows where to find them.. they know where to go and find this hidden disorder.. even in the people who are carrying it and don’t know.. that seems to me an extraordinary.. extraordinary.. hubristic assertion..

we have to understand that when we globalize mental health.. concepts of mental health.. practices and the ideology behind them.. we are globalizing a particular way of being a person.. a contemporary western way of being a person.. why should that be universally useful..?..t

why locally useful..?.. useful?

science of people ness.. schooling the world

we are telling these people.. in effect.. how to think.. and how to be.. what gives us the power to do that.. how do we imagine that we’re going to capture info that will be useful to them.. the statement claims of the global mental health movement

what is mental health.. what is personal in a broken social world.. 1 in 4 children in the world are going to bed hungry.. the gap between the haves and have nots in the world are widening..

5 min – large parts in the world.. and certainly in africa that i know and in asia.. people are mired in mere survivalist ways of life.. by which i means.. there’s no question of having a long horizon.. the question is.. can you feed the kids tomorrow lunchtime.. what is mental health in that world.. what do important attitudes mean in that situation..

on mental health literature: validity is methodology that captures the nature of reality of the subjects.. if you have research methods that don’t capture the nature of reality.. apart from everything else.. those research methods are likely to be unhumanistic.. and if unhumanistic.. unethical..

6 min – 4 of 5 research methods derived in west and not derived for populations used.. i think we can then take them and throw them out the window..

psychiatry will say if you push .. well we do have problems with validity.. but what we have is reliability.. standardized approach.. but reliability can only stand on the ground of validity.. if a research method is invalid.. it cannot be made reliable.. if you just make the same mistake over and over again..

7 min – research.. finds what it is already seeking out to find.. and all other things are excluded.. because outside the frame of reference..

gray research law

8 min – can see it in phrases in literature.. ie: subjects need to acquire more mental health literacy.. or.. they have lack of knowledge of mental disorders.. or.. in this part of the world where there is much illiteracy mental health constructs and the phrases describing them may not be well understood.. that doesn’t put off the researchers.. they continue to have their methodology.. they arrived w it..  and that methodology will yield a figure for.. say.. the prevalence of major depression.. dsm defined.. in an impoverished rural village in ethiopia.. what is that worth..? what is that.. what can we really say we know about a heterogeneous group of people.. because answered yes to several questions on questionnaire.. this is ludicrous.. it’s embarrassing

9 min – moving forward.. i’d rather give that task to anthropology rather than to mental health people



find/follow Derek:

wikipedia small

Derek Summerfield is an honorary senior lecturer at London’s Institute of Psychiatry and a member of the Executive Committee of Transcultural Special Interest Group at the Royal College of Psychiatry. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Egyptian Psychiatric Association. He has published around 150 papers and has made other contributions in medical and social sciences literature

In 1995 he participated in a study on the psychiatric effects of the detention and torture of Palestinian political prisoners. He has been involved with various studies on the effects of war and atrocity, and of displacement and asylum-seeking in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bosnia and the UK. He has published extensively on the effects of torture as well as the effects of war-related violence on women and children. He drew international attention with a series of publications questioning the existence of post-traumatic stress disorder, criticizing the medicalization of psychotherapy for trauma and the exaggeration of mental illness statistics. Recently he has argued that global mental health statistics should take into account differing ethnopsychiatric definitions

Summerfield has been a vocal critic of the Israeli Government’s actions against Palestinians and of what he believes are Israeli physicians’ violations of medical ethics. An October 16, 2004 editorial published by the British Medical Journal, concerning what he described as the level of Israeli violence against Palestinian children generated controversy and a number of responses both negative and positive. He also attempted unsuccessfully to force Yoram Blachar to resign as head of the World Medical Association after spearheading a petition drive claiming Blachar supported torture while he was working in Israel.



mental health

dis order

not normal ness

science of people ness

crazywise (doc) – (Gabor Maté –maté basic needs lawWill Hall, Phil Borges et al)


hari rat park law via ..

a nother way