Meaning and Mental Health – Dr Joel Vos, PhD
We live in an era of political, economic and climatic crises.
Any normal individual would be emotionally affected by such events. Therefore, it is not a surprise that some experts claim that we currently face the largest mental health crisis mankind has ever experienced. In fact, almost one in two people will now experience a severe mental health problem at some point during their lifetime.
The first part of this presentation will describe how the current mental health crisis may be caused by socio-economic circumstances that prevent individuals from living a meaningful life. Specifically, it will address how structural community crises, governmental austerity measures, societal existential crisis, educational and academic crises affect our ability to experience meaning in life.
The second part will describe how the current mental health care system is in crisis, and how, instead of helping people, can actually make problems worse. Specifically, it will examine the role played by biomedical lobbies, financial crises, and unfounded psychiatric diagnoses in causing these problems. The sum of these examples suggest that a small group of powerful individuals benefit from current system, whereas many more suffer unnecessarily.
The third section will explore evidence-based ways individuals can live meaningful lives – despite these circumstances. You’ll learn about the latest research on the link between meaning in life and mental health; specifically, how increasing meaning can act as a safeguard against mental health problems, and improve emotional wellbeing.
The lecture will conclude with a vision for an alternative mental health care system; one which focuses on the social context of individuals and empowers them to live meaningful and satisfying lives.