chapter  1
34 Pages

Which behaviours are judged as ‘mental illness’ and why are they called ‘mental’?

There are many current ways to 'identify' someone as having poor mental health or a mental illness. The reader is urged to begin thinking about what they actually mean by 'mental', and in what situations they even use that word. Women's mental health should have been seen differently but has been accommodated in the Western framework as something being wrong inside women, because of the commonly patriarchal views of professionals. Kraepelin in the early twentieth century sought to do the same with 'mental disorders' and tried to categorize behavioural symptoms into clusters of an underlying mental illness, and this is the approach still used today by the DSM. The chapter outlines a ways in which cognitive psychology has been melded with ideas based on behavioural theories to 'explain' mental health problems. The evidence for actual brain changes in mental health needs to be critically examined.