NUI Galway Host Public Talk on Depression and Anxiety

May 01 2019 Posted: 09:24 IST

Psychotherapist, author and trainer, Dr Barbara Dowds will deliver a public lecture entitled ‘Listening to Depression and Anxiety: Human Needs and What Makes Life Worth Living’ at NUI Galway on Thursday, 9 May, at 6pm. During the talk Dr Dowds will address the question as to why depression and anxiety have increased so rapidly in Ireland and worldwide in recent decades.

The talk will hear Dr Dowds’ argument that a fragmenting society and an obsession with success and winning have led to a crisis of identity, as people substitute an isolated ‘performing self’ for an authentic connected one.

She makes the case that our current crisis of instability and inequality has produced two kinds of human responses. Those who tend to internalise pressures develop depression and/or anxiety. In contrast, there are those who externalise the crisis and express it in the anger, hatred, and blaming we see in populism.

Dr Eilis Ward, Lecturer with NUI Galway’s School of Political Science and Sociology, said: “While we are inclined to think about depression and anxiety now as an illness, Barbara's work shows that there is a very close relationship between the economy and society and people's deep sense of themselves. In other words, the social environment we live in is hugely important to our mental and emotional stability. Barbara’s work offers a vitally important analysis, that we suffer hugely when our very basic needs are not being met. She points us towards thinking about the social breakdown that late capitalism produces, its competitiveness, individualism and isolation, and the way this causes depression and anxiety. Her work puts basic human need back into the centre of our view, the need to trust and be trusted, the need for belonging, for fairness and the need to have meaningful relationships in our lives. When these innate needs are not met, we can withdraw and become depressed. This talk will be of interest to all and especially to anyone working in the area of mental health.” 

Dr Dowds is a Dublin based psychotherapist who has recently published a book entitled ‘Depression and the Erosion of the Self in Late Capitalism’, which investigates the reason for ongoing increases in depression and anxiety in contemporary society

The meeting is being hosted by the School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway and all are welcome. The venue is lecture theatre MRA201 in the Ryan Institute Annex (Wards Shop entrance).

For more information contact Eilis Ward, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway at


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