chapter  4
35 Pages

Deconstructing the DSM

The usual plan of presenting mental health is to outline the normal DSM diagnoses, causes and etiologies, and then consider some special cases such as ethnic or cross-cultural mental health. Mental health is constructed and determined through observing behaviours-in-context during life strategies, not by measuring some brain or other substrate essence. If there are behaviours causing conflicts or problems and if they have the properties, then they will usually be called 'mental health' issues and the person or persons will end up consulting a 'mental health' expert. There are other difficulties in using 'functioning' as a criterion, especially so widely throughout the whole DSM—almost all the mental health 'symptoms' are not so bad until they affect 'normal functioning'. A context which can be strategically involved in 'mental health' behaviours is comorbidity. A property of 'personality' would seem to be that the person carries on the pattern regardless of the contexts they are in.