The World Health Organization's concept of health as "the condition of psychophysical and social well-being" must be translated into opera tional terms. The objective is to place the human person within the social system, given that mental health, mental illness, and suffering are individual, despite the fact that their causes are to be sought in the society and environment that surround and interact with the indi vidual. One dimension that must be emphasized in this field is the contin uum that exists between social environment and cerebral development. This continuum consists of the physical and biological features of the two interacting systems: on one hand, the brain managed and con trolled by the genetic program, and, on the other hand, the environ ment, be it natural or social. A simple dichotomy of individual and environment is no longer a sufficient concept in understanding the etiology of mental health and illness. Needless to say, socioepidemiological research in psychiatry and transcultural psychiatry is useful in reaching these ends. However, at the root of mental illness, one can always find the same causal elements: informational chaos, inadequate dietary intake, substance abuse, trauma, conditioning, and so on, which make the interactive systems dysfunctional. Subsequent organic and psychotic disorders occur to the detriment of both the individual and society. Current biological psychiatry is inadequately equipped in treating mental illness.