Global Mental Health and the Demolition of Culture
That the world is currently going through a complex and critical phase in its history is an understatement. The background is multifaceted: violence of all types with a different kind of war (but war anyway) at its peak, large migrations in all regions, religion transformed in terrorist codes and strategies with tragically massive sequelae, and politics in many countries (starting with the US) reaching levels of cheap TV shows or grotesque deformity by the words and actions of some of its protagonists. And the main victim, in addition to all the innocent lives of those who died or were injured (physically and emotionally) is humanity itself, the essence of its raison d’etre—culture—as both the repository of history and the expression of our human identity.
Culture is being demolished by grenades, guns, and incendiary speeches. And the world’s mental health is being threatened as never before by viruses of hatred, fanaticism, frivolousness, and a technology-based infectious chain. The challenges to psychiatry as the clinical armor of mental health, and to cultural psychiatry as its vanguard platoon, are indeed enormous in these dramatic and confusing times.
The preceding may sound exaggerated but an objective and close examination of worldwide events these days, conveyed by the media, social networks, or word-of-mouth, confirm the seriousness of the situation. Almost daily attacks by unknown assailants in malls, train stations, bars, churches, or in the streets reflect the contagious nature of violence—be that the result of dysmorphic preaching or the action of “lonely wolves.” Religious and even ethical principles used as reasons to kill, dressed up by coward anonymity, have used European and American cities as worldwide stages. A re-invigorated racism and its mixed-up dialectics play with fear, apprehension, or sheer ignorance to make public places or dark neighborhoods scenarios of death, invoking at times the name of the law. Homicide and suicide-related deaths have increased as a consequence.
The cultural and mental implications of all these behaviors cannot be neglected. Migration within countries or regions has been a phenomenon present for centuries around the world. To mostly socio-economic and occupational needs as main causes of migration, others have been added in the last several decades: prolonged internal political conflicts, religious wars, cruel political persecutions, bloody massive expulsions, or voluntary exile.
Source: Psychiatric Times