2016 Advanced Study Institute

Division of Social & Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University
Advanced Study Institute in Cultural Psychiatry

Psychiatry for a Small Planet:
Ecosocial Approaches to a Global Mental Health

May 30 - June 1, 2016
Montreal, Québec

Advanced Study Institute Conference and Workshop (May 30 - June 1, 2016)

PDF icon 2016 ASI Conference Program

The view of earth from space provided by the Apollo mission in 1968 offered a new way of thinking about the planet as our shared home—a beautiful blue-green orb floating in space. In recent years, climate change, urbanization, mass migration, and the violence of global geopolitics have created new challenges and a more acute sense of the vulnerability of our planet. This planetary view exists in some tension with the perspective of globalization, which tends to focus on economic growth and development. This international conference and workshop will examine the implications of these diverse perspectives for addressing the emerging challenges in global mental health. Questions to be discussed will include: What ways of thinking about current global or planetary issues can promote empathy, equity and effective action? Does the notion of “planetarization” offer an alternative to globalization for thinking about geopolitical and ecological crises? What are the links between care of the planet and care of the self? What cultural values and practices can contribute to adaptation, flourishing and well-being in the face of the massive environmental and social changes that are on the horizon? Sessions will explore topics related to four themes: (1) rethinking the politics, ethics and pragmatics of global mental health “from the bottom up” to ensure the voice of diverse communities; (2) the impact of urbanization and the built environment; (3) the implications of forced migration and displacement; and (4) the impacts of climate change on the mental health of populations and communities. These interconnected processes are changing the configuration of social worlds, presenting new challenges to mental health and affording new possibilities for intervention. Presenters will examine the ways that ecosocial and ecosystemic approaches to health and illness can inform policies and practices that contribute to the treatment and prevention of mental disorders and the promotion of mental health and well-being. 

The format will be a public Conference (May 30) directed to mental health practitioners, educators and policy makers, with an artistic event in the evening, followed by a two-day Workshop (May 31 & June 1) with pre-circulated papers for researchers working on these issues.

Medical practitioners may register for the ASI conference and workshops for CME credit. This event is an accredited group learning activity as defined by the Maintenance of Certification Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Selected papers from the ASI will appear in a thematic issue of Transcultural Psychiatry: http://tps.sagepub.com

Selected recordings and abstracts below:


Introduction: Psychiatry for a Small Planet

Laurence J. Kirmayer - Psychiatry for a Small Planet: Ecosocial Approaches to a Global Mental Health


Peter A. Victor - The Trouble with Growth


Peter G. Brown - Economics of the Anthropocene


David Ndetei - Global Mental Health from the Perspective of an LMIC

Fernando Lolas Stepke - Bioethical Implications of Globalization for Global Mental Health

Sandra T. Hyde - Contemporary Chinese Hyper-urbanization and its Mental Health Consequences

Ashley Cunsolo - Mourning Nature: The Mental Health Impacts of Ecological Grief

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