Socioeconomic Factors and Mental Health: Past and Present
Editors: Professor Matthew Smith and Dr Lucas Richert (University of Strathclyde, UK)
This article collection will examine how the relationship between socioeconomic factors and mental health has been and is understood in an array of different places and periods. Although much of the focus of current mental health research and clinical practice is on the neurological aspects of mental illness and psychopharmacological treatment, historical research demonstrates that a wide range of factors — from vitamin deficiencies such as pellagra, and infections such as syphilis to traumatic life events — have contributed to the onset and exacerbation of mental health problems. Among all these factors, one looms largest: socioeconomic status. On the one hand, socioeconomic inequality has been long recognised as a potential cause of mental illness, as the history of mental hygiene and social psychiatry during much of the twentieth century demonstrates. On the other hand, however, the mentally ill have also historically faced much socioeconomic hardship; today, a high proportion of the homeless and incarcerated in many countries suffer from mental illness.
By exploring this topic across time and place, this collection aims to provide a historical context for today’s mental health crisis, and also to inform current mental health policy, especially attempts to prevent or alleviate mental illness through social change.
Insights on a broad spectrum of themes are welcomed, including, but not restricted to:
- Homelessness and mental illness;
- Social psychiatry and mental hygiene;
- Community mental health;
- Forensic psychiatry;
- Race and mental health;
- Psychiatry and various economic/political systems (e.g., communism, socialism, capitalism);
- Socioeconomic factors and child mental health;
- How health professionals deal with poverty and mental health;
- Social policy and mental health;
- Social activism and mental health.
This is a rolling article collection and as such proposals and submissions will be welcome until August 1, 2018.