Mental distress has external causesby Danny Dorling and Khadija Rouf / June 1, 2018 / Leave a comment
The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is a human right. That’s according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner.
Few Prospect readers would argue against human rights. But we usually view health, particularly mental health, as an individual affair, seeing it only as an internal state. In truth we are all greatly influenced by wider society.
When large numbers of people become unwell, we need to look beyond biology and consider what is happening at the societal level.
In their new book The Inner Level, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett reflect on the social factors influencing mental health. They reveal that the incidence of mental illness in the UK is twice that in Germany. Americans are three times more likely than the Dutch to develop gambling problems. The mental health of children is worse in New Zealand than it is in Japan.