#CfP: Social #Power and #MentalHealth, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; 25-26 March 2020

Call for Papers

Social Power and Mental Health: Evolving research through lived experience

CRASSH, University of Cambridge – Wednesday 25 & Thursday 26 March 2020

Keynote speakers: Rachel Waddingham and Prof Imogen Tyler

Do you have experience of mental health issues and/or psychiatric service use?

Are you conducting research into mental health?

If you answered yes to one – or both – of these questions, then we’d like you to apply to speak at Social Power and Mental Health.

Social Power and Mental Health is a conference in Cambridge. It will bring together people with lived experience of mental health challenges, and researchers. Our aim is to start conversations between these two groups of experts. We also recognise that many people belong in both groups.

Disempowered social groups face an increased risk of mental health issues. They are more likely to experience difficult economic, social and environmental conditions. Race, gender, sexuality, disabilities and social class intersect with these.

At the same time, mental health issues are widely stigmatised. And people from disempowered social groups are much more likely to be labelled ‘mentally ill’.

How do these inequalities appear, and why? And what steps could be taken to challenge them?

If you would like to give a presentation of up to 15 minutes at the conference, please write a 250-word abstract (title and description of your presentation), and send it to emk31. There is no requirement to disclose your personal experiences, although you’re very welcome to discuss them if you wish.

If you would prefer not to speak in front of an audience, let us know. You can submit a poster, or suggest another type of presentation e.g. a film, an audio recording etc.

Closing date for submissions: Tuesday 10 December 2019

We will let you know if your application has been successful in early January 2020.

If you have any questions, please email Ed Kiely, emk31.

Please let us know if you have any access requirements that you would like to discuss with us. Financial support is available for people who are unwaged or on low incomes.

Further information:

A detailed summary of the conference is available on the CRASSH website.

We particularly welcome abstracts from people who are members of groups underrepresented in academia, including people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, and disabled people. We also encourage applications from early career researchers.

This interdisciplinary conference has been designed in collaboration with a steering group of local people with lived experience of mental health challenges and/or psychiatric service use. All submissions will be reviewed and decisions made by this steering group.

Conference themes:

1. Stigma and labelling:

– Many different groups are given labels – these can confer social advantages and disadvantages. In turn, these labels (including that label ‘mentally ill’) can lead people to experience stigma.

– How do labelling and stigmatisation (re)produce power inequalities? And how do they affect mental health?

2. Participation and community:

– ‘Community involvement’ is often proposed as a solution to mental health problems. At the same time, there is a long history of different social groups (from people facing mental health issues to queer people) building their own communities in response to violence and exclusion.

– What are the barriers to community involvement? What are the potential benefits? And which possibilities are opened up by alternative communities?

3. Intersecting inequalities:

– Experiences of inequality can impact mental health. At the same time, mental health issues can produce inequality. And in many cases, people will experience multiple forms of inequality at the same time.

– Racism, sexism, classism, ableism, saneism, homophobia, transphobia – how do these forms of hate and violence impact mental health? What are the consequences when they intersect? And how can they be challenged and resisted?

Possible questions to explore:

How does stigma link to social power?

– What role do psychiatric services and the welfare state play in helping or harming mental health?

– How are power inequalities reinforced, and how can we challenge them through research?

– When might research worsen mental health challenges?

– What kinds of methods can produce empowerment?

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