Vital spaces and mental health.

Brown, Steven D and Reavey, Paula (2019). Vital spaces and mental health. Medical humanities, 45(2) pp. 131–140.



The impact of social and material conditions on mental health is well established but lacking in a coherent approach. We offer the concept of 'vitality' as means of describing how environments facilitate 'feelings of being alive' that cut across existing diagnostic categories. Drawing on the work of Stern, Fuchs, Worms and Duff, we argue that vitality is not solely a quality of an individual body, but rather emerges from attunements and resonances between bodies and materials. We use vitality as a lens to explore how movements within and between assembled sets of relations can facilitate or disable feelings and expressions of being alive. Building on extended discussions of both inpatient and community-based mental healthcare, we sketch out a research agenda for analysing 'vital spaces'.

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