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Being black in Britain is bad for your mental health – Kwame McKenzie

Ash Sharma | Journal: Commons | General Issue [0] | Issues | Apr 2007

This is a short article on racism and mental health in The Guardian (2 April 2007). The author succinctly argues that the continuing high levels of psychotic illness in people of African and Caribbean origin in the UK is of epidemic proportions and asks why nothing is being done about it.

Even the British government recognises that there is a problem although there continues to be little effective strategy to deal with the issue. Lord Patel, chairman of the Mental Health Act Commission, recently claimed in a BBC interview that the mental health system needs to address its institutional racism otherwise it is heading towards ‘racial apartheid’. The denial of racism in British society and its contributing factor in mental illness continues to be denied. One only needs to look at the comments following the Kwame McKenzie piece to see the ‘colour-blindness’ of liberal Britain. What is needed is serious debate and political action about the relationship between racism and madness in contemporary Western society.

See Black Mental Health UK for useful resources.


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