Derek Summerfield – Why Export Mental Health?


“When we globalize mental health, concepts of mental health, practices, and the ideology behind them, we are globalizing a particular way of being a person, a contemporary Western way of being a person.”

Derek Summerfield, honorary senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, University of London provides a critical view on global mental health. Arguing that it is irresponsible to export Western mental health concepts and methodologies that may have questionnable results even in the West to other societies, Dr. Summerfield provides suggestions on how mental health research could move forward.


2 responses to “Derek Summerfield – Why Export Mental Health?”

  1. lynne friedli says:

    Welcome and powerful critique of the mental health industry that I hope will be widely circulated and discussed. Thank you to Derek Summerfield for his insights, humanity and ethical concerns. Lynne

  2. Hans Rohlof says:

    Interesting discussion, and I do agree with Summerfield, Fernando, de Jong, and Patel that exporting a Western model to development countries is ridiculous. We have our biopsychosocial model on an individual basis. Working on community level (with the same model) would be far more better in development countries. But what to do if communities break down: people migrate to big cities, and sometimes to the West. Is the Western model then more valid?

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