Measuring Social Welfare within the Mental Health Complex Ecosystem through collective research and citizen science practices

2017 edition

Anna Cigarini

Within the context of the deinstitutionalization of mental health services we developed a framework through which conceptualize and measure the functioning of mental health communities. We focused our attention on the exploration of the multiple interactions that comprise all actors involved in the recovery process. We stressed the need to look at the mental health collective as a complex system made up of interacting members which shows certain emerging properties that are typical of the collective itself and cannot be reduced to the analysis of each individual separately. We explored the dynamics of the mental health ecosystem in a participatory way by means of citizen science and collective research strategies  and in terms of conformity or deviance to shared norms of social behavior which takes the form of an overall measure of social capital. Social dilemma constructs – an  abstraction for situations where individual and collective rationalities are in conflict- provided us with a language to critically speculate about strategic decision making in social interaction. In strict collaboration with the Catalan Federation of Mental Health we addressed concerns related to trust, reciprocity, cooperation, optimism and sense of justice of individuals with a diagnosis of mental disorders, and of their social environment. These jointly discussed human traits were captured by a set of economic games – namely the Public Good Game, the Trust Game and the Prisoner Dilemma Game – used to elicit and quantify interactive decision-making in a parametric way. We therefore ran a collective experiment during the World Day of Mental Health in Lleida, Catalunya. A number of key behavioral traits emerged as for the social functioning of the collective.