Bianca in the neighborhood: moving beyond the "reach paradigm" in public mental health

Mare Knibbe*, Marten de Vries, Klasien Horstman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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This article offers a critical analysis of how to address social inequalities in mental health. In public mental health, inequalities are commonly construed as a problem of reach, implying that existing mental health expertise often fails to reach low-income groups. We discuss two critiques on the reach-paradigm' in mental health promotion: the impoverishment of idioms of distress and the tendency to transform complex political issues into clinical ones that are assumed to be backed by evidence. Furthermore, we present the findings of our ethnographic research of an alternative approach to mental health promotion that used media storytelling focused on local knowledge and social context. Our analysis is guided by anthropological research on idioms of distress and sociological literature on health promotion and social inequalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-445
JournalCritical Public Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Mental health
  • social inequalities

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