Call for critical perspective on mental health orthodoxy

Press Office
Dr Alvise Sforza Tarabochi by University of Kent

An expert in medical humanities has challenged the idea that the Western psychiatric conception of mental health is the only possible one.

In a new 17-episode series for Radio Fragola, an Italian community station, Dr Alvise Sforza Tarabochia explores the history and philosophy of mental health from the dawn of medicine to the present day.

He concludes that current notions on health and mental health don’t always contribute to improving our everyday life and that a critical perspective on them could help prevent their negative side-effects (such us commodification of therapies and medicalisation of normal states of mind etc), while fostering their unquestionably positive results (such as extinction of diseases through vaccinations, reduction of morbidity and mortality rates).

Radio Fragola, which is based in the former asylum of Trieste, specialises in mental health news and cultural programmes. It is part of the Radio Popolare Network, an affiliation of radio networks in Rome, Milan, Florence and Bologna, and also syndicates worldwide.

For more details on the series, entitled Tracce di salute mentale [Traces of Mental Health], including the steaming link:

Dr Sforza Tarbochiaa Lecturer in Italian in Kent’s Department of Modern Languages within its School of European Culture and Languages, is an expert on the psychiatrist Franco Basaglia, who influenced the law banning asylums as places to treat the mentally ill in Italy.

His research interests include Italian theory, medical humanities, psychoanalysis and visual culture.