Mentally Sane Systems

In English the words sanity and mental health are different from physical health.

In Dutch we use the term ”geestelijke gezondheid’ (mental health) and ‘lichamelijke gezondheid’ (physical health). We have no equivalent for sanity.

In The Netherlands, in UK and USA mental health services are not about being sane but professionals are being busy to ‘cure unsane/insane citizens’.

In Western societies we do not seem to have clear conceptions for ‘sane’, ‘mentally healthy’ citizens.

This anomaly strongly invites clearance from an anthropological gaze.

The Institutes and Journals on Mental Health are NOT on about being systemic sane (as families/schools/corporations) but about diagnosing and treating mental disorder of individual citizens.

Having worked for three decades in and for mental health services and with their professionals I want to think, dwell and speak about sanities of our different social systems like families, communities, schools, prisons, asylums and corporations.

I have published a number of papers on ‘clinical anthropology’ (2001 Bekkum Feisal in Conflicting Loyalties and Liminal Vulnerabilities in Male Adolescents oct 2014) and ‘transcultural consulation’ (2010 Bekkum Nasjaro Caught in Medical and Normalizing Gazes).

This discipline does not exist in The Netherlands and ‘Clinical Anthropology‘ is in the USA is marginal. Most Transcultural Family Therapy Theories do think/work ‘systemically’ but seldomly anthropologically. Exceptions are Bradford Keeney and Britt Krause