'Depharmaceuticalising' mental health?

Speaker: Dr Martyn Pickersgill # University of Edinburgh

20th Jan 2014

15:30 - 17:00

Conference Room, David Hume Tower


Recent work in STS has been concerned with 'pharmaceuticalisation' – the increasing place, role and impact of prescription drugs in and on society. Compelling case studies have been produced - particularly in regards to mental health in the US. These demonstrate the importance of industry, healthcare systems, and consumerism in developing and expanding drug markets. In this work-in-progress talk, I discuss on-going research around the sociology of psychology in order to query whether in the UK, we can discern a policy push towards the de-pharmaceuticalisation of mental health.  Drawing on documentary analysis and interviews with clinicians and key policy actors, I sketch out some of the mutually constituting economic, ethical and clinical imperatives that are seeking to scale up the use of psychological therapy in mental health. This includes (in)formal governance and  regulation, which are employed as tools through which to enhance the possibility of an individual successfully commencing therapy. In discussing these issues, I aim to underscore the ways in which discourses and debates associated with processes of pharmaceuticalisation also adhere to and develop de-pharmaceulticalisation. 


Speaker Biography

Dr Martyn Pickersgill is a sociologist in the Centre for Population Health Sciences, University of Edinburgh. He currently holds a Wellcome Trust Fellowship in Biomedical Ethics, is Principal Investigator of a Leverhulme Trust project on neuroscience and society, and is Co-Investigator on an AHRC award examining technoscience and law. Martyn sits on the Editorial Board of Sociology of Health & Illness, is Book Reviews Editor for New Genetics and Society, and is a member of ethics working groups for the BBSRC and ALLEA. He is an inaugural member of the Young Academy of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.