source: Red Pepper
published: 9 August 2017
Mental illness is now recognised as one of the biggest causes of individual distress and misery in our societies and cities, comparable to poverty and unemployment. One in four adults in the UK today has been diagnosed with a mental illness, and four million people take antidepressants every year.
‘What greater indictment of a system could there be,’ George Monbiot has asked, ‘than an epidemic of mental illness?’
The shocking extent of this ‘epidemic’ is made all the more disturbing by the knowledge that so much of it is preventable. This is due to the significant correlation between social and environmental conditions and the prevalence of mental disorders.
Richard Bentall, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Liverpool, and Peter Kinderman, president of the British Psychological Society, have written compellingly about this connection in recent years, drawing powerful attention to ‘the social determinants of our psychological wellbeing’. ‘The evidence is overwhelming,’ notes Kinderman, ‘it’s not just that there exist social determinants, they are overwhelmingly important.’