Racism and Mental Health: Prejudice and Suffering

Racism and Mental Health: Prejudice and Suffering

Racism and Mental Health: Prejudice and Suffering

Racism and Mental Health: Prejudice and Suffering

Synopsis

Investigating the impact of racism (both conscious and unconscious) in mental health settings, this book covers individual clinical encounters and the broader picture of service provision.

Excerpt

This chapter begins the journey of exploring how such a controversial area of study
constantly defies thought. Prejudice and suffering for migrant groups are introduced.
The motivation for producing a book on racism and prejudice is set out, alongside an
invitation to the reader to be challenged by and challenge what follows.

Born in Kenya, and having arrived in the UK at the age of two, most of my childhood influences were in rural Buckinghamshire, where I was schooled and discovered difference and responses to it. Differences of skin colour and culture were inevitably part of the fabric of life, but they were not really at the foreground for me, except in moments of extreme violence to family and friends because of their skin colour and conspicuously different cultural origins. There was always a tension between being ordinary and fitting in and finding myself reminded of my difference from others. I proceeded on a path of being ordinary and passed sufficient academic exams to qualify as a doctor, and then as a psychiatrist in London, a region with a complex admixture of racially and culturally different peoples. Although my fascination with the subject of racism and mental health was born long before I went to medical school in London, this did not really become more real until I saw the experiences of the many validate what I had considered to by my own idiosyncrasy. The curiosity about race, ethnicity and culture arose from two sources. First, from my early experiences of being misidentified. That is, how people saw me, and understood my origins. It was easier to be who I was perceived to be rather than who I

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