Journal Article

Mental Health and Social Justice: Gender, Race and Psychological Consequences of Unfairness

Michael Sheppard

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 32, issue 6, pages 779-797
Published in print September 2002 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online September 2002 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
Mental Health and Social Justice: Gender, Race and Psychological Consequences of Unfairness

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It is not immediately obvious how social justice might relate to mental health. Mental health or ill health is, by some, thought to be inherent within the individual, whereas social justice, as its name indicates, resides within the realm of the social. However, where we understand social justice as, on the one hand, an issue involving equality and fairness, and on the other as having both material and symbolic dimensions it becomes clear that there is an important link. In particular groups which suffer disadvantage and discrimination may be expected to suffer higher rates of mental ill health. However, the key to understanding this is by identifying the mechanisms by which this can happen. In order to do this it is necessary that we do not look at mental health (or illness) in an undifferentiated way, since there are different processes involved for different forms of mental ill health. We shall, therefore, look at this by focusing on the issue of social justice through two significant relationships: gender and depression, and race and schizophrenia. We shall examine the mechanisms which link these together, and show how they are significant psychological consequences of social injustice arising in both material and symbolic form.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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