Digital exclusions: mental health and digital life

This article is part of the following series:

We are closing our series with a podcast that turns to the absences and missing voices emerging alongside Digital Psy; the lifeworlds and experiences of those not interpellated into digital care. In this podcast, we explore the notion of “digital exclusion”, commonly used to describe the challenges of digital participation in terms of a lack of devices or skills. Here, we approach digital exclusion as an empirical artifact and trace its edge through policy, care provision, technology design, and the everyday.  

The first part focuses on the UK, where we talk to a disability activist and share the highlights of a “theatre of the oppressed” workshop that took place in London. Collectively we produced artistic responses to the theme “digital exclusion” with people who experienced barriers to digital participation. You will hear fierce discussion, beautiful spoken word poetry, and powerful soundscapes, which exemplify the affective charge, intricate stories, and the particular claims that can be made on society and the state in the UK. 

In the second part, our series editors Natassia Brenman and Beth Semel discuss with five contributors how digital exclusion plays out in the settings they wrote about in the series. Rebecca Lester reflects on mechanisms of exclusions in the digital mental health care sector in the US. Manuel Capella argues that telepsychology in Ecuador is a neoliberal form of care offered by a government unwilling to engage social and structural issues. Artist and computer scientist Jonathan Zong reflects on how exclusion is inherent in binary code and how digital participation can always mean care and control. And finally, anthropologists Livia Garofalo and Alexa Hagerty advocate for designing digital psy technologies with communities and their understanding of digital inclusion in mind. 

A transcript is available here.

We are grateful for the support from the Theatre Company Clean Break, ESRC UKRI Impact Fund, and the Impact Fund from the Department for Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College London.