chapter  8
13 Pages

Greek depression

Uses of mental health discourse from the economy to the psyche
WithAnna Apostolidou

The public dialogue of psychologists and psychiatrists in Greece concludes that the crisis is responsible for the ever-rising percentages of stress and panic attacks, sleep disorders and abuse, anti-social behaviour, depression and other malfunctions. It is undeniable that the crisis has had a major effect on many underprivileged social groups, who had been struggling even during the period of the phenomenally prosperous pre-crisis period. This chapter focuses on the discursive handling of emotive language in Greece, especially with reference to mental health and stability. In this context, expressions of indignation, ethnographically attest to how emotive language works to articulate an alternative possibility, a creative engagement with power structures or a transformative 'indirect resistance' in a discourse that paradoxically combines anti-hegemonic elements with defensive nationalism. The use of mental health terms, of illness and danger but also hope and healing, exposes the creative space that an oppressive discourse, like that of pathology and unreason, potentially provides.