‘I Thought I Was a Lost Cause’: How Therapy Is Failing People of Colour


From The Guardian: “Those from a black and minority ethnic (BME) community are at greater risk of developing mental health conditions than their white counterparts. There is a growing body of research to suggest that regular exposure to racism increases the chances of developing psychosis and depression, while other mental health risk factors such as poverty, higher unemployment and lower educational outcomes tend to have an impact on BME Brits.

Despite this need, an independent review of the Mental Health Act, which was submitted to the government in 2018, found that ‘profound inequalities’ exist for BME patients accessing mental health services. The report focused primarily on the overrepresentation of BME in-patients in psychiatric units: black British people are four times more likely to be sectioned than white patients. BME patients are also more likely to be given medication rather than being offered talking therapies (eg counselling and psychotherapy) …

‘There’s a long history of oppression towards people of colour in psychiatry,’ says Eugene Ellis, the founder of the Black, African and Asian Therapy Network (BAATN). ‘And [BME patients] may see all of it – psychotherapy, counselling – as the same.’

But the problems for BME patients are not limited to psychiatry. In 2013, the mental health charity Mind conducted a report for the coalition government on improving access to talking therapies. With BME patients, their findings were shocking: only 10% of those surveyed felt that their talking therapy service adequately took into consideration their cultural background, with a third of the respondents believing that the service was not fit for BME people.”

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  1. “There’s a long history of oppression towards people of colour in psychiatry,’ says Eugene Ellis, the founder of the Black, African and Asian Therapy Network (BAATN).

    True, but it is more accurate to say this:

    “The history of psychiatry is a history of oppression.”

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    • Yes. The very act of aggressively pursuing large numbers of POC to force treatments upon could be viewed as racist. Check Breggin’s YouTube videos on The Violence Initiative.

      Psychiatry already displays its inherent bias against the disabled in the way it targets them. Especially those who already have cognitive problems.

      The Mental Center I once attended “served” people with Down Syndrome, Spina Biffada, and TBI. How? With lessons on life skills and lots of drugs to render them almost impossible to learn.

      Google Karl Binding. A head honcho in German psychiatry who gave Hitler a lot of his ideas. He wrote propaganda such as Lebensunwertes Leben.

      Psychiatry is inextricably bound to social darwinism and eugenics. Racism must be covert but they still justify mutilating, imprisoning and imposing often fatal treatments on the disabled who–according to their judgment–do not have lives worth living.

      The only real reason shrinks don’t advocate for euthenasia now (I suspect) is keeping people alive to drug indefinitely is how they make money. Fuller Torrey probably knows that the jig is up. So like others he has determined to cash in on opening a chain of asylums since it’s growing impossible to claim that these wonder drugs they push help with quality of life or independence.

      If the APA starts promoting euthanasia at the same time a mysterious new soap or protein supplement shows up on the market we’ll know why.

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      • Hi Rachel, sorry I took so long to respond to your comment. My memory is terrible thanks to psych drug damage, so I rapidly forgot I even wrote here. Thank you for posting about the Violence Initiative. While I was aware that psychiatry started the holocaust I had never heard about what happened in any great detail so this is a good resource to have on hand. Someone I know well studied history in university, and despite focusing a lot on the WWII era, had not even been taught about the history of psychiatry’s involvement in the holocaust. It’s so shocking how well they’ve managed to cover over what happened.
        I will have to look up Karl Binding too.

        Regarding racism, I think a lot of it is covert but, in the days of slavery it was quite overt, they had a diagnosis they gave anyone who wanted their freedom. Drapetomania I believe it was called, it was believed to be a sort of “mania” that caused people to wander away from slavery. The argument went that people needed to be whipped to cure that “mental illness”. Just awful stuff.

        And as far as I can see euthanasia is still something psychiatry believes in. In my country there have been recent open calls for “assisted suicide” for the “mentally ill”, which if it goes anywhere will be a way for them to cover over the “mistakes” they have made. It’s really very alarming as I’m sure many of the people who might be for it won’t be told that the bulk of their problems may be coming from treatment, and that they may well recover from most of them if given sufficient time.

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