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The Umbrella Organisation

The Umbrella Organisation

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The Afiya Trust: White Psychiatric Interpretations of Black Psychosis
Raks New Profile Pic Square
rakspatel wrote in mycroft_brolly


Photo: David Bennett
Photo credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1454134/Patients-death-reveals-festering-NHS-racism.html

An independent inquiry report published in February 2004 looking into the "unnecessary and tragic" death of a black man (David Bennett) restrained at a secure clinic in Norwich concluded that institutional racism was rife throughout the mental health service of the NHS. The inquiry said that institutional racism was "a festering abscess, a blot on the good name of the NHS". Black patients are wrongly perceived as being "aggressive to start with", and frequently put on higher doses of anti-psychotic drugs than Caucasians, the inquiry team said.

I did an MSc in Race and Ethnic Relations at Birkbeck College, University of London, which I completed in 2004 and I had to write a dissertation as part of my MSc. The Afiya Trust has now published a synopsis of my dissertation - White Psychiatric Interpretations of Black Psychosis: A Comparative Study of Colonial Africa and Modern-Day Britain. The dissertation looked at how white (and in particular British) psychiatrists and psychologists in colonial Africa and modern-day Britain have interpreted black psychosis.

Cut and pasted from The Afiya Trust website:

The Afiya Trust is a national charity that works to reduce inequalities in health and social care provision for people from racialised communities.

Established as a charity in 1997 within The King's Fund, and independent since 2001, they liaise and work with central government departments and policy makers to ensure health inequalities facing racialised communities in Britain are tackled and alleviated. The word ‘Afiya' translates as ‘good health' or ‘wellbeing' in several African, Arabic and South Asian languages, and encapsulates the ultimate change Afiya seeks to bring about on behalf of its constituencies.

The synopsis of my dissertation has been published on The Afiya Trust's new social networking portal "Backchat" and is here:
http://www.backchat.afiya-trust.org/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=white-my-comparative-study-of-colonial-africa-and-modern-day-britain.html&Itemid=5#readmore

The Afiya Trust are here:
http://www.afiya-trust.org/

Happy reading!


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Congrats on the online publication. It's not a subject that I had thought about much before, but spreading awareness always helps in the fight against prejudice. Whilst the conclusions you drew don't surprise me, it remains astonishing how long it takes for institutionalised attitudes to be changed. I would hope that some progress has been made in the years since you researched your dissertation, although cynically I suspect not nearly enough. :-/

Thank you for your congratulations. It means everything to me to finally get my work out into the public domain, on the website of a highly respected and reputable charity, working for, and in, the service of BME communities.

I am all for raising awareness of mental health issues and combating and fighting prejudice and discrimination. I often campaign to this end.

The case of Stephen Lawrence and its resulting inquiry, and the case of David Bennett and its resulting inquiry, both of which found institutional racism, have not changed things nearly enough. Racism is still prevalent in the criminal justice system, the health service, and many other public services. One day things will change, but we are not there yet!

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