Social Perspectives on Psychiatry for the Person

Main Article Content

Wolfgang Rutz
Manuel Fernandez
Jitendra Trivedi


Today, in a social and societal perspective, mental ill health and stress-related community syndromes involving disorder and death can be identified and their dysfunctional consequences for societies as well as for the individuals living in and exposed to them become clearly evident.Thus, a societal syndrome of stress related morbidity and mortality including increasing mortality figures due to suicide, violence and homicide not only leads to socio-economic consequences, but also afflicts the very fabric of a society, its moral and ethical values and its social structure. This was dramatically exemplified in the drop in life expectancy, the premature death and the depopulation phenomena observed in Europe’s transitional societies during the nineties.Here, the challenge is to identify societal settings and individual life courses that support resilience and salutogenesis, but also pathogenic factors as helplessness, loss of existential cohesion, social disruption and violations regarding integrity, autonomy, dignity and identity. Population directed approaches are demanded

Article Details

Special Section: Conceptual Bases of Psychiatry for the Person
Author Biography

Wolfgang Rutz, University for Applied Sciences of Coburg (Germany); Public and International Mental Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm

Dr Rutz is Professor of Social Psychiatry at the University for Applied Sciences of Coburg (Germany) as well as Senior Advisor for Public and International Mental Health, based in Stockholm. He is chairman of the International Advisory Committee of the German network on Suicide Prevention and Vice Chairman of the World Psychiatric Organisations (WPA) Section for Psychiatry and Policy. Dr Rutz is Member of the Board of the Swedish Social Psychiatric Forum and head of its international secretariat as well as member of the board of the Swedish Family Association of Suicide Prevention (SPES) and its scientific advisor. 1976 to 1998 Director of the Mental Health and Psychiatric Services in the County of Gotland, Sweden. During this time Dr Rutz headed the professional and structural development of the mental health services on Gotland towards deinstitutionalisation, professionalisation and community based mental health to become one of the model organisations both in Sweden and internationally. He acquired his Doctorate of Philosophy at the University of Linköping, Sweden, with a dissertation about the “Gotland Study”on suicide prevention by the involvement and education of General Practitioners.During the 90s he became Vice Chairman of the Swedish Psychiatric Assocoation and President of the Swedish Society for Biological Psychiatry.From 1998 to 2005 Dr Rutz was recruited as WHO European Regional Advisor for Mental Health and Director of WHO's European Program for Mental Health at its European office in Copenhagen.After his retirement from WHO and United Nations he was Head of the Department for Psychiatry and Health Promotion at the Academic University Clinic of Uppsala from 2005 to 2009.