chapter  4
Becoming a psychiatric patient
Pages 31

This chapter explores how participants experienced the pathologisation and medicalisation processes of mental distress and reflects on whether these processes were capability enhancing or diminishing. Pathways to health care are part of a social process shaped by social and cultural factors. Abao's pathway to care was a long process of working out whether her somatisation of depression, was a physical illness or not. Utilisation of plural medical models as well as transnational usage of health care systems seemed to facilitate the process and helped Abao relieve her pain and discomfort. In terms of using UK health care services, language capability emerged as an important condition for exercising agency during medical encounters. Receiving a psychiatric diagnosis is one of the thresholds of entering into the medicalisation process. Medication is another technology of medicalisation. Alongside medication, talking therapy was mentioned as an intervention that participants had used. The chapter demonstrates that the transnational context is important in the pathway to care.