ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mental Health in India

Ecologies of Suffering

This article proposes an "ecology of suffering" which mediates between the sufferer and the "clinic." "Ecology" refers to the network of forces acting on and by the people suffering and those around him/her. It is chosen to stress the mix of "natural," and "social" such as landscapes or air pollution. "The clinic" refers to what happens locally between the sufferer and mental health professionals attempting to actualise the National Mental Health Policy. The aim is to enhance a crucial, yet neglected, aspect of India's National Mental Health Programme: that individual mental suffering is related to a wide range of local factors.

1 Introduction

This article calls for a framework linking what happens in the “clinic” to wider ecological forces, both material and social. The aim is to enhance a crucial, yet neglected, aspect of India’s National Mental Health Programme (NMHP): that individual mental suffering is related to a wide range of local factors. The current India National Mental Health Policy, both radical and holistic (NMHP 2014), requires a cross-disciplinary approach to reinvigorate theory to bridge the gap between policymakers and practice (Jain and Jadhav 2009). To ensure congruency between mental health policy and practice, a framework is required which integrates ecological, economic and social sciences as applied to mental health.

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