Mind Matters Lunch Colloquium, Emeritus College, Emory University

Carol Worthman, PhD, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology Emerita, Emory University

September 21, 2020

The last 150 years have brought tremendous gains in public health and biomedicine that have improved well-being and survival around the globe, yet mental health has lagged behind. Great public health measures such as sanitation and provision of clean water as social goods saved and improved countless lives while the mental health equivalent of clean water has remained elusive, considered outside the remit of structural, population-level policy and intervention. The present pandemic has revealed fault lines in this and other cultural logics where existing conditions have failed the COVID stress test not just on health but also on economy, education, politics, and environment. Stark differences in morbidity and mortality between and within populations clearly highlight the physical and mental toll of flagrant inequity, systemic discrimination and marginalization, and concomitant erosion of support for public goods, alongside the vested forces that produce these corrosive conditions. Urgent lessons from the evidence before us have galvanized many to seize the opportunity for long-needed change at many levels, structural to personal. Carol will unpack the rationale and options for placing “no health without mental health” in an orienting framework for the arduous but exciting process to change not only policy, practice, and values, but also health science itself.