Crossing the Borders of Sanity – BBC World Service Round Table Discussion

Following on from his four-part BBC Radio 4 series ‘The Borders of Sanity’, which explored the impact and culture of mental health and illness around the world, Dr Christopher Harding will chair a discussion panel on the subject on BBC World Service on 8 September.

‘The series looked at one particular mental health issue each across four diverse cultures — Japan, Sweden, UK and Ghana,’ said Dr Harding. ‘I, as the presenter, and listeners too, ended up with lots of new questions after hearing about the people and places involved so felt we should finish off with a discussion programme designed to puzzle through some of the issues raised.’

Dr Harding will be joined by Professor Vikram Patel, Professor of International Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and Dr Dominique Behauge, Associate Professor of Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University.

The series stemmed from Dr Harding’s research into the role of modern Japanese and Indian culture, especially religious culture, in how people view their mental health and seek to improve or otherwise alter it. In Japan, until the late 1990s, depression was largely unknown, unusual given its culture of working long hours and high levels of suicide. In a couple of decades, thanks to a ‘rebranding’ of depression as a ‘cold of the soul’ and increased media coverage, it has become recognised. But is it just psychiatrists, lawyers and pharmaceutical companies who have benefitted?


The final broadcast of Borders of Sanity will be at 3pm on Thursday 8 September (online and UK-time). The full series is available on BBC IPlayer. For further information and international broadcast times please see Borders of Sanity on the BBC website.

Image: ©Torisugari, reproduced with kind permission of the artist. Left to right, Keith Moore (producer of the series), Dr Christopher Harding and the Manga artist Torisugari as his character 'Watashi' (meaning 'I' in Japanese). Torisugari’s work explores his own experience of depression and he is producing a manga about his encounter with Keith and Christopher.