Paradigm humility and appropriate methodology in Global Mental Health

White, R. and Fay, R. (2016, April). Paradigm humility and appropriate methodology in Global Mental Health. Paper (to be) presented at The Emergence of Global Mental Health workshop, hosted by Kings College, London, April 28th, 2016.

Discussion Topics: How is ‘mental health’ as an object of knowledge and global intervention construed, operationalized, and governed? What new networks of actors are emerging in different fields of mental health intervention and care? What are the historical lineages in policy and practice converging in GMH?

Abstract: Definitions suggesting that Global Mental Health (GMH) is concerned with addressing ‘inequities’ in mental health provision across the globe highlight a need for clarity relating to the standards against which ‘equity’ is being judged. Contention exists over the merits/demerits of the globalization of epistemologies and the dynamic interaction between global and local ways of knowing and being. There is a need for ‘paradigm humility’ in glocal sites of knowledge exchange to help facilitate the collaborative development of appropriate forms of support that people can engage with and derive benefit from. If social justice and the promotion of freedoms are to be principal concerns of GMH, then proponents of GMH must be mindful of the sources of unfreedom that may be intrinsic to the paradigms that they espouse. GMH as an endeavor requires practitioners who can adopt context-sensitive perspectives in pursuit of methodologies for GMH. By drawing on the critical education tradition of appropriate methodology, practitioners can adopt ethnographic perspectives on their own practice to become more attentive to the tensions, as well as resonances, that exist with other methodological possibilities. Such perspectives can play an important role in promoting reciprocity in knowledge exchange contributing to the development of GMH initiatives.