18th January 2021 Blog

How to become an anti-racist mental health researcher

How to become an anti-racist mental health researcher

This is the theme of a webinar series that has recently launched. You can sign up to join the first and subsequent sessions through the LivPsych website. The starting points are that institutional racism is embedded in mental health practice across the world and that there are many issues within mental health research, which informs and underpins all of practice. The webinar series will shine a light on this and develop ideas to make mental health research anti-racist. We hope you will get involved and please do share with colleagues and contacts.

McPin’s involvement is as one of the coordinating organisations. Since the murder of George Floyd, we have been focusing on our anti-racism work internally. Like a lot of organisations, we have been asking ourselves searching questions regarding our work on diversity and inclusion, and anti-racism especially: the So White charity descriptor. The systemic and historic racism in psychiatry. The lack of a race lens in most mental health research. How can McPin attempt to drive change for mental health if it doesn’t have a clear action plan for Black mental health research, for addressing racism in the workplace, for challenging the whiteness of mental health research and knowledge production?

We are pleased to be part of this initiative, where we hope to look at several key areas of work relating to mental health research over the next 6 months. There is not a set agenda and we do not have all the speakers lined up yet. If you have ideas or would like to contribute yourself, please do let us know. We have been working with activists and academics to shape the webinar series. The plan is to host a festival in June – bringing together material and discussions from each event, and focusing on how to develop the ideas that have emerged.

Beyond talk

An important feature of the series will be the contribution of organisations. We are inviting different key organisations – mental health funders, mental health policy and campaigning charities, and professional bodies - to share their anti-racism action planning and experiences. We hope to get beyond talking about anti-racism to seeing what changes are happening. Both by individuals in mental health research and the organisations that provide the infrastructure around us all.

LivPsych are hosting the webinars. This is a student society and we are looking to ensure these webinars are useful for the mental health practitioners and researchers of the future. Our ambition is that we collate ideas from contributors with different perspectives on how to become an anti-racist researcher. We will involve professors and PhD students to contribute equally. We are also keen to hear from our audiences – what actions are you taking or do you feel others should be taking? There will be ways to share your views.

If you want to raise a question or have ideas for topics and speakers, you can let us know by contacting [email protected]. Sign up here.