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Dismantling the Master’s House: Anti-Racism, Institutional Racism & Psychosis

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm | 25 November 2020
Online | Free

Acknowledging the longstanding inequities, exploring how systemic racism impacts people’s lives, and asking whether the system can be reformed?

In the wake of this year’s widespread protests, and the continued work of the Black Lives Matter movement, there is increased urgency to address how the systems, services, ideologies, and institutions that make up our mental health system, contribute to the oppression of racialised people.

Themes the webinar will touch upon:

  • Have 2020’s massive uprisings changed the landscape?
  • How does anti-racism relate to ‘psychosis’ and the mental health system more broadly?
  • Can mental health services be decolonised?

We will also be launching a documentary film project which ISPSUK is proud to be supporting, emerging from our 2018 conference on psychosis and institutional racism. This will be the first time the trailer has been screened publicly. The film’s synopsis is as follows: Dismantling the master’s house is a hard hitting documentary examining structural racism in the UK mental health system. Told from a social justice perspective.

Register to attend here

Our webinar panel will feature:

Suman Fernando, Formerly a consultant psychiatrist, Suman is now Emeritus Professor of Social Sciences at the London Metropolitan University. Suman is known for his critical approach to western psychiatry and psychology from a transcultural perspective, and his writing on how institutional racism is embedded in these disciplines when practiced in the UK. He has written and lectured extensively in UK, Sri Lanka and Canada, been involved in NGOs in all three countries and latterly in mental health development in the Third World. His books include Cultural Diversity, Mental Health and Psychiatry; The Struggle Against Racism (2003), Mental Health, Race and Culture (third edition, 2010); Mental Health Worldwide; Culture: Globalization and Development (2014); Institutional Racism in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology (2017); and most recently (co-edited) Global Psychologies; Mental Health in the Global South (2018).

Sanah Ahsan is a queer muslim womxn, a liberation and community psychologist, an award-winning poet and all-round disrupter. Her work is centred on compassion, decolonising our understandings of mental health and embracing each other’s madness. Sanah is interested in knowledge gathered from non-conventional study spaces. She draws on therapeutics, poetics, and activism as interconnected practices to support racialised and marginalised people.

Some of Sanah’s work includes: presenting a Channel 4 documentary exploring the medicalisation of young people’s distress, leading conversations for the Southbank Centre on women of colour’s mental health, giving a Ted Talk drawing on narrative therapies; all whilst working as a psychologist in a homeless hostel. The Guardian recently described Sanah’s poetry as “an exhilarating declaration of love and an invocation to bare the soul.” Sanah is currently writing her debut poetry collection, whilst also engaging in community psychology practices.

Philip Thomas worked as a consultant psychiatrist in the NHS for over twenty years, before leaving clinical practice in 2004 to write. He was Professor of Philosophy, Diversity and Mental Health in the University of Central Lancashire from 2006 to 2009, and has published over sixty articles in peer-reviewed journals mainly on mental health and philosophy. He has also written or co-authored 4 books and over twenty chapters in books. Until recently he was chair of Sharing Voices Bradford a community development project working with the City’s diverse communities in mental health. He is currently writing about the moral and philosophical consequences of neoliberalism for society and mental health work and he is currently involved in a range of activities with critical colleagues aimed at decolonizing psychiatry and mental health.

Jessica Pons, is the Hearing Voices Team project manager at Mind in Camden. She develops Hearing Voices Groups in places such as prisons, young people’s mental health services and in the community (Voices Unlocked, Voice Collective, and the London Hearing Voices Network). She is also an integrative psychotherapist practicing within a feminist/socio-political framework. Jess is a mixed-race black woman with lived experience of mental health difficulties, meaning institutional racism within psychology/psychiatry are part of her life story, as well as witnessing it from the other side when employed in various services.

Jess will facilitate our panel discussion ‘Tools for dismantling’ featuring our speakers, alongside Dr Colin King and Nathaniel Pamah.

*’Dismantling the master’s house’ refers to a quote from Audre Lorde, who described herself as a ‘black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet’. The quote reads “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”.

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