Cities and Psychosis
Urban living is an established factor in the aetiology of psychosis, but the connection between them remains unclear. Working as part of a team including neuroscientists, philosophers, anthropologists, psychiatrists, urban planners and sociologists, I am studying the relationships between urbanicity, neuroendocrine development, and mental health to investigate how urban life gets “under the skin” and impacts the mind in the course of development. Research suggests that immigrants are especially sensitive to cities. My particular interests are in the role of social experiences of city-living, such as discrimination, mis/trust and perceptions of social injustice. Our team is approaching this question by bringing together ideas from political theory with methods in anthropology and psychiatry. We attempt to relate young people’s lived experiences of the city to a range of genetic, neurobiological, psychological, and urban factors, to understand what it is about the texture of urban life that contributes to the aetiology of mental illness.