Mental Illness, Violence and the Delusion of Freedom: Exploring the Legacy of Frantz Fanon

A Global Mental Health Collaboration between CARIMENSA UWI, the Department of Community Health and Psychiatry UWI, McGill University and the Jamaica Psychiatric Association Global Mental Health Conference, UWI

March 31 – April 1, 2018

The Caribbean Institute of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (CARIMENSA, UWI) through collaborations with the McGill University Canada and the Community Health and Psychiatry Department of the University of the West Indies seeks to host its third annual Global Mental Health conference. The University of the West Indies has made seminal advances over recent decades in the development of interventions to improve cognitive and behavioural outcomes in children. The central mission of CARIMENSA is the development of primary prevention strategies for mental illness in Jamaica and the Caribbean, and we are delighted to attempt to bring together leading authorities from the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, to explore how Global Mental Health policy can most effectively respond to the need to identify appropriate modes of community-based practice and novel approaches to defining research priorities in this important global health challenge.

The conference this year highlights the theme of mental and socio-political consequences of trans generational trauma in our culture. It begins by highlighting the mental health problems that face expectant mothers in the pre and post-natal period and the impact that this has on the child’s mental wellness. There is further exploration of the cultural dilemma of classifying psychopathology in children based on conventional parameters.

The conference culminates in a reflection on the legacies of the Martinique Caribbean Psychiatrist Franz Fanon who challenged conventional theories by contextualizing psychopathology in the historical and socio-political realities of Post-Colonial societies. It explores the impact of social inequity, oppression and stigmatization on the mental wellness of Caribbean people.

We have used the painting “The Spirit of the Keke” by Jamaican artist Judy Salmon to illustrate the groundedness of this discourse in the tradition of African continuity that dictates this collective inquiry into the psychological liberation of descendants of Africans enslaved in the New World.

 

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