Journal article / Ayurvedic Mental Health Services in Kerala and Pluralistic Healing Practices

Halliburton, Murphy. ‘Hegemony versus Pluralism: Ayurveda and the Movement for Global Mental Health’. Anthropology & Medicine. Published ahead of print, 2 September 2020.

Abstract (edited): Under the aegis of the World Health Organization, the Movement for Global Mental Health, and an Indian Supreme Court ruling, biomedical psychiatric interventions have expanded in India, augmenting biomedical hegemony in a place that is known for its variety of healing modalities. This occurs despite the fact that studies by the WHO show better outcomes in India for people suffering from schizophrenia and related diagnoses when compared to people in developed countries with greater access to biomedical psychiatry. Practitioners of ayurvedic medicine in Kerala have been mounting a claim for a significant role in public mental health in the face of this growing hegemony.

This study examines efforts by ayurvedic practitioners to expand access to ayurvedic mental health services in Kerala, and profiles a rehabilitation center which combines biomedical and ayurvedic therapies and has been a key player in efforts to expand the use of Ayurveda for mental health. The paper argues for maintaining a pluralistic healing environment for treating mental illness rather than displacing other healing modalities in favor of a biomedical psychiatric approach.

Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup

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