I disagree with GNIF Brain Blogger Shaheen’s assertion that the only way to understand mental health issues is through the medicalization and organic markers for mental disorders and tests derived from such markers. Psychology and psychiatry have established a very deep, rich knowledgebase of mental disorders and it’s pretty well-established at this point that these disorders are not pure brain or biochemical issues.

Human beings are complex tapestries of human development, personality, social influences, environmental influences, and more. To suggest it will all someday be boiled down to a “mechanism and pathways” is really to discount decades of social science research that proves otherwise.

I agree, however, that medical doctors other than psychiatrists, really do need more education and classes on mental health issues. Psychologists get 4 to 6 years of coursework and clinical training, not just a class or two. The fact is that most depression is diagnosed by a general physician or family doctor, not a mental health professional. And while depression is fairly easy to diagnose, differential diagnoses when depression is really just one symptom of a more complex disorder, are often not considered by general physicians. And sometimes a referral to a mental health professional isn’t even made.