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Arthur Kleinman’s, “A Window on Mental Health in China” discusses the medicalization process of mental illness in a culturally dominant society. China believed that mental illness was not a mental a disease but rather a politically wrong way of thinking and did not acknowledge the existence of mental hospitals. They believed the development and approaches of Western society were too liberal and unacceptable in China. Chinese society refused to accept that mental illness was in part caused by societal and environmental factors. Even though over the decades, mental illness has become a huge health problem in China, there are limited resources to treat their patients.
Kathryn Schulz’s, “Did Antidepressants Depress Japan?” discusses the introduction of antidepressants and the effect it had on its society. Unlike America, Japan is a society who acknowledges that not everything in life is happiness, that there at times when individuals feel sad. Since feeling melancholy is acceptable, mental illness was not classified as a disease. Mild depression became popular in Japan after celebrities admitted they suffered from depression and were on antidepressants. The pharmaceutical companies started partnering with doctors, which they eventually prescribed patients antidepressants.
Thomas J. Csordas’, “Elements of Charismatic Persuasion and Healing” discusses the charismatic healing of Father Felix, two cases in particular. Charismatic healing is performed to eliminate the presence of evil spirits by counseling and praying. According to Charismatic healing almost every illness was caused by an evil spirit and could be healed through charismatic healing. Margo and Ralph both suffer from mental illnesses and their families recurred to charismatic healing in hope of getting healed. After a few unsuccessful sessions with Father Felix both Margo and Ralph stop attending.
Society imposes the rules of how society is supposed to function. Every society has different factors that influence the rules and laws established, such as culture. The process of the medicalization of mental illness was different for every society. Being diagnosed with mental illness often times comes with a stigma that many do not want to carry with. Some societies do not want to carry with that stigma, which is why they refuse to accept it as a health problem. If those in power and control refuse to accept mental illness as a disease, there won’t be any treatment available for the population that is affected. Even if other societies have conceptualized mental illness as a disease, for some societies it might be too liberal, as was the case of China. Those in power dictate what is acceptable and what is not in their society. For example, China viewed mental illness as a deviant behavior rather than a disease. The population had no other option than to obey and rectify their behavior. Every society is ethnocentric to an extent and China was no exception since they believed their way of thinking was the ideal. Those in control had the power to hide and oppress the bad side of their society, the one they did not want exposed. Concealing problems in society will only make the problem worse. China was aware that the problem of mental illness existed yet those in control refused to acknowledge it and instead set it aside. There are other societies who had trouble identifying mental illness as a disease as it is so similar to the expectancy of their culture.
In Japanese culture feeling sad, is something that is expected since deaths and losses are part of life. When a feeling such as melancholy is something so common in Japan, it is difficult to categorize mental illness as a disease. The standards impose by this society made it difficult to look beyond it and acknowledge that it is an actual disease that needs treatment. Diseases that are not well developed or known often attract a stigma. Those in power will either further the labeling or educate their population and provide them with the necessary tools. Even when the disease is treated with medicine, it is not guaranteed that the treatment will be efficient. There are various different drugs out there that are formulated to fights disease since the pharmaceutical companies keep producing them to make a profit.
There are cultures that believe in other resources other than medicine. There are individuals who do not believe in medicine or as a last resource seek the help of a healer. The Charismatic healing approach believed that with counseling and praying the evil spirits causing the mental illness will go away. Those at the top of the religion will advocate that their approach is the right path into healing. Those in need of a cure will buy into it hoping that in fact it is the right path that will heal them from their disease.
Overall, the function of every individual is to obey the rules and laws established by society. Those in power are the ones who control and dictate how society needs to function. The elite will always be in power and have control over how society rules, while the working class will always remain at the bottom and follow the orders of those who are on top.
It is intriguing to realize that the conceptualization of mental illness as a disease has come a long way. I thought once mental illness was conceptualized as disease, it was viewed and treated as one. I learned that that culture plays an important factor in determining how mental illness will be portrayed. I was not aware that Charismatic healing existed; however, I was aware about the exorcisms that priests perform. I found it amazing how China went from a society that refused to accept mental illness as a disease to a society that has evolved and accepted it and even acknowledged that the social distress is a plausible cause of the disease. I found interesting that Margo would have continued her Charismatic healing sessions with Father Felix even if they were not successful. I do not believe that a pill will make you happy, however, it might control your condition, yet, the same time cause you a new complication.

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