New paper published in Psychology Research and Behavior Management



Collective Depression Syndrome Among Asylum-Seeking Detainees Highlighted in New Paper Published by Dove Medical Press

AUCKLAND, New Zealand (November 23, 2009 01:02 PM)

A new paper by William W Bostock from the School of Government, University of Tasmania, analysing the debate between the psychiatric profession and the Australian government over collective depression syndrome found among asylum-seeking detainees, has been published in the Dove Medical Press journal: Psychology Research and Behavior Management.

The open access publisher of medical and scientific journals has made the paper available at:

Psychiatrists have long had involvement with the political process, both individually and as a profession. They have made valuable contributions to debate over such issues as war, conflict, terrorism, torture, human rights abuse, drug abuse, suicide and other public health issues. However, they have also been complicit in some gross atrocities.

Over several years there has been debate over the Australian Government’s treatment of asylum seekers, and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists took the unusual step of publicly criticising the Australian Government’s policy on grounds of its toxicity leading to a diagnosis of collective depression syndrome, particularly among child detainees, but also adult detainees.

The official Ministerial response was to deny that collective depression exists and to assert that the concept is meaningless. Can this intervention by psychiatrists be interpreted as a product of earlier political behaviors by psychiatrists? The willingness of psychiatrists to cooperate with other professions, notably psychologists, pediatricians, physicians and lawyers, is noted, as is presence of minority voices within the Australian psychiatric profession.

The significance of the debate over the mental condition of asylum-seeking detainees is that its outcome has implications for how Australia sees itself and is seen by the rest of the world, that is, its national identity.

Read the full paper The psychiatric profession and the Australian government: the debate over collective depression syndrome among asylum-seeking detainees by William W Bostock.

Dove Medical Press Ltd is a privately held company specializing in the publication of open access peer-reviewed journals across the broad spectrum of science, technology and especially medicine.

The company was founded in 2003 with the objective of combining the highest editorial standards with the best of breed new publishing technologies. Dove Medical Press offices are in the UK, USA and editorial offices in Auckland, New Zealand.

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Updated 23 July 2014