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technical paper

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

New and Emerging Perspectives in the Anthropology of Mental Health II

keywords:

decolonization

mental health

ethics

Recent years have seen a surge of anthropological research on mental health in the Global North and South. Anthropological approaches have grappled with syndemics, critically engaged with Global Mental Health, considered the intersections of disability, race, class, and other identities in mental health care, and have questioned the effects of possibly traumatic fieldwork experiences on the mental health of anthropologists themselves. Anthropologists have also charted the impact of governmental and quasi-governmental organizations’ distribution of mental health care services, the growth of psychiatric user/survivor movements, and activism(s) at the intersection of mental health services, education, and criminal justice systems. Given increased interest in this field, our double panel asks: What does the future of the anthropology of mental health look like? What theoretical perspectives and methods will ground our research practice in the years to come? What role does the anthropology of mental health play in critically interrogating, sustaining, enhancing, and - in certain instances - undermining formal and informal projects of mental health and wellness? Recent and up-and-coming work conducted by junior and senior scholars engaged with research on mental health will include theoretical approaches grounded in decolonial perspectives, Mad Studies, religious studies, community engaged research, posthumanism, and critical medical anthropology. It will also include an analysis of mental health policy reform and their effects in various countries, as well as a discussion on experimental ethnographic methods in the anthropology of mental health, such as drawing, time-diaries, and song-writing.

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