China Mills

Dr China Mills PhD, BSc (Hons)

Lecturer in Critical Educational Psychology
Tel: +44 (0) 114 222 8176
Room: 8.04, The School of Education

Research Interests
China explores the psycho-political effects of the globalisation of the psy-disciplines, the medications and mentalities they elicit, and how they shape our very understandings of ourselves and of the social conditions in which our lives are embedded. She is interested in exploring how the psy-disciplines and psychotropic drugs function in local and global contexts of entrenched inequality, chronic poverty, (neo)colonial oppression, and increasingly under the politics of austerity. China published the book ‘Decolonizing Global Mental Health: the Psychiatrization of the Majority World’ (Routledge), which draws on research with NGOs and user-survivor organisations in India, and analyses global mental health policies as forms of colonial discourse. She has since published work on the mental health-poverty nexus, mental health and international development, and on poverty, stigma and social isolation. Previously China worked with the Hearing Voices Network in the UK, and has grown up alongside family members who hear voices, and who have a Schizophrenia diagnosis.



China is director of the MA Psychology and Education. China teaches on the BA Education, Culture and Childhood, and leads the first year Child Psychology module. She also teaches on the MA in Education; on the MSc Psychology and Education; and on the EdD programme. She supervises a diverse range of PhD students.

Research Activities

China is on the editorial Board for the journals Disability and the Global South: An International Journal, and the Annual Review of Critical Psychology (ARCP).
She is a member of the editorial collective for Asylum: a magazine for democratic psychiatry.
She is an Associate Fellow of The Critical Institute and a visiting researcher at the University of Helsinki, affiliated to the Nordic Centre of Excellence (Finland).
China is a reviewer for Sociology of Health and Illness, was section editor for the Springer Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology, and is an editorial advisor the Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane book series.

Other experience

From a young age, China has been an ally of the psychiatric user/survivor movement, and carried out research with the Hearing Voices Network, with young people who hear voices, some of whom had a schizophrenia diagnosis. China used to work on the helpline for the Hearing Voices Network in Manchester, and has facilitated a number of workshops on the approach of the Network in India. Previously, China worked as a research officer at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the University of Oxford, looking at the intersections between social isolation, stigma and poverty.



Mills, C. (2014). Decolonizing Global Mental Health: The Psychiatrization of the Majority World. Routledge, London and New York.

Journal Special Issues

Mills, C. and Fernando, S. (2014). Globalising Mental Health or Pathologising the Global South? Mapping the Ethics, Theory and Practice of Global Mental Health. Disability and the Global South (DGS): An International Journal, 1(2).

Mills, C., Harper, D. and Spandler, H. (2012). Intersections between disability studies and the psychiatric survivor movement. Asylum Magazine, 19(2).

Journal Papers

Zavaleta, D., Samuel, K. and Mills, C. (2016). Measures of Social Isolation. Social Indicators Research, online, 1-25.

Mills, C. (2015). The Psychiatrization of Poverty: Rethinking the mental health-poverty nexus. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 9(5), 213-222.

Mills, C. (2015). Symptom, seduction, subversion: Reading resistance to psychiatry through a post-colonial lens. CUSP: critical cultures and cultural critiques in psychology, 1, 22-46. 

Mills, C. and Fernando, S. (2014). Globalising Mental Health or Pathologising the Global South? Mapping the Ethics, Theory and Practice of Global Mental Health. Disability and the Global South (DGS): An International Journal, 1(2), 188-202.

Mills, C. (2014). Psychotropic Childhoods: Global Mental Health and Pharmaceutical Childhoods. Children and Society, 28(1):1-11.

Kumar, M. and Mills, C. (2013). Resounding Echoes from Afar: De-familiarizing Psychology in India. Annual Review of Critical Psychology, 10; 549-576. 

Mills, C. (2012). Special “Treatment”, Special Rights: Dis/abled Children as Doubly Diminished Identities. Freeman, M. (Ed.), Law and Childhood: Current Legal Issues, 14: 862-898. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Mills, C. (2011). Disrupting ‘Disability’ and ‘Doing’ it differently: Professional Talk and Children’s Lives. Ethnographica: Journal of Culture and Disability (EJCD), 1(1): 12-24. 

Book Chapters

Mills, C. (2016). Mental Health and the Global Mindset of Development. In Grugel, J. and Hammett, D. (Eds). The Palgrave Handbook of International Development.

Mills, C. and White, R. (2016). Efforts to Scale-up Mental Health Services in LMIC. In White, R., Read, U., Jain, S. and Orr, D. (Eds.). The Palgrave Handbook of Global Mental Health: Socio-cultural Perspectives. Palgrave.

Mills, C. and Davar, B. (2016). A local critique of Global Mental Health. In Grech, S. and Soldatic, K. (eds.). Disability and the Global South: The Critical Handbook. Springer.

Mills, C (2016). Educational Psychology in (times of) Crisis: Psychopolitics and the Governance of Poverty. In Gough, B (Ed.). Handbook of Critical Social Psychology. Palgrave MacMillan.

Mills, C. (2016). Epidemic or Psychiatrization? Children’s mental health in a global context. In Billington, T., Goodley, D., Williams, A. and Corcoran, T. (Eds.) Critical Educational Psychology. Palgrave.

Mills, C. (2015). Personality: Technology, Commodity and Pathology. In I. Parker (ed.). Handbook of Critical Psychology. Routledge.

Mills, C. (2015). Assuming Impairment and Erasing Complexity: The Global Politics of Disablement. In Sapey, B., Anderson, J. and Spandler, H. (eds). Madness and the Politics of Disablement. London: Policy Press.

Mills, C. (2014). Sly Normality: Between Quiescence and Revolt, in Burstow, B., Diamond, S. and LeFrancois, B. (Eds) Psychiatry Disrupted: Theorizing Resistance and Crafting the (R)evolution. McGill University Press.

Mills, C. and Zavaleta, D. (2014). Shame, Humiliation and Isolation: Missing Dimensions of Poverty Analysis and Suffering. In Anderson, R. (Ed.) World Suffering and the Quality of Life. Springer.


‘Why the A Level Psychology is already out of date’ (with Jenny Slater). The Conversation, February 22nd.

‘Making a Mental Note’ (article about my research in India), December 24th 2014, The Indian Express.

Interview for the Movement for Global Mental Health newsletter. 

Mills, C. (2012). Resisting the Movement for Global Mental Health. Asylum Magazine, Vol. 19, No. 1.

Mills, C. (2012). Global Mental Health and Critical Disability Studies, in Sapey, B., Anderson, J. and Spandler, H. (Eds). Distress or Disability: Proceedings of a Symposium Held at Lancaster University. Centre for Disability Research (CeDR) Lancaster University.




Collaborative network on critical approaches to Global Mental Health, funded by Sheffield Institute for International Development (£40, 000). (China is Principal Investigator, working alongside Dr Eva Hilberg, Dr Simon Rushton, and Dr Alison Howell).


Storying Our Chemical Lives: A Design Fiction Workshop - Seed grant funding received from the Faculty of Community & Social Services, Ryerson University (Toronto) ($5000).

Student Engagement Funding with the Critical Race and Ethnicities Network on ‘Intersectionality in Curriculum Decolonization’ (a public event on whiteness, ableism and the curriculum) (£1,500)


ESRC to hold a Festival of Social Science event in November 2015 titled ‘Exploring our chemical lives’ (£1500).

School of Education University of Sheffield seed fund to host the event ’Colonising Madness’: a day workshop with international speakers and 50 participants (co-organised with Professor Dan Goodley) (£1300).

School of Education University of Sheffield seed fund to hold a day long workshop titled ‘Storying Austerity’, with community organisations, activists, and arts practitioners (co-organised with 3 colleagues at the School of Education) (£1300).