Suffering and pain: Racialized immigrant women’s use of mental health services in Lethbridge, Alberta

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Parvin, Mst Shahina
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Sociology
Drawing on in-depth interviews with 13 racialized immigrant women, this research explores experiences of using mental health services in Lethbridge, Alberta. The women’s narratives serve as a thread linking psychiatric, neoliberal, colonial, patriarchal, and other power relations. The treatments focused on the women’s concerns as individualized; the resulting prescription of antidepressants and psychotherapy required self-colonization to relieve their pain, complicating several women’s experiences of using mental health services. Some women found medical interventions beneficial to their wellbeing, while others resisted psychiatric knowledge at various points because of the embodied suffering they faced, and their reliance on conflicting cultural beliefs and healing systems. By analyzing these women’s experiences, I offer a rethinking of the biomedical conceptualization of mental illness as a natural and universally occurring pathology. Ultimately, I argue that current framings of mental illness obscure the intersectional power relations that played an important role in contributing to these women’s distress.
Racialized immigrant women, social subordination, racism, colonization, patriarchal violence, suffering, mental illness, mental health services , Women immigrants -- Canada , Racism -- Canada , Women -- Violence against -- Canada , Women -- Mental health -- Canada , Women -- Psychology , Women immigrants -- Mental health -- Canada , Dissertations, Academic