Preventative Therapeutics: A Study of Risk and Prevention in Australian Mental Health


  • Andrew McLachlan Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney, Australia



Risk, prevention, mental health, pedagogy, governmentality, beyondblue, the Black Dog Institute


his study investigates the preventative therapeutics of two major Australian mental health organisations – beyondblue and The Black Dog Institute. The aim of this study is to examine how the resilience-based programs of both organisations reconfigure clinical and preventative expertise into new forms of ‘anticipatory action’ (Anderson 2010). First, this article situates beyondblue and the Black Dog Institute within their historical contexts to consider how issues of risk and protection have become essential to mental health care today. Second, it examines the institutional practices of beyondblue and the Black Dog Institute and the role of clinical and preventative expertise as enacted forms of authority. Finally, this study investigates the intellectual and biokeeping technologies promoted through both organisations“ resilience-based pedagogies. The view taken in this study is that such technologies actively participate in the making of new therapeutic cultures and practices. Moreover, as biomarkers continue to act as indicators of future states of ‘unhealth’ (Dumit 2012: 112), biokeeping technologies will continue to act as essential elements in the governmentality of mental health and wellbeing.


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How to Cite

McLachlan, A. (2014) “Preventative Therapeutics: A Study of Risk and Prevention in Australian Mental Health”, Culture Unbound, 6(4), pp. 815–835. doi: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.146815.



Theme: Therapeutic Cultures