Institutionalised Racism in the Provision and Delivery of Mental Health Services

3007 Words13 Pages
This assignment will focus on ‘racism’ as an area of discrimination, and in particular in the area of mental health. I aim to explore the prevalence of racism in society and its impact on service users from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background. I also aim to discuss the role of social workers in challenging this type of discrimination. Institutional racism has been defined in many different ways by many different people, but put quite simply I see institutional racism as policies, practices or functions that have been implemented, that protect and condone personal racism. This basically means that racism is legitimised in our legal systems and institutions to foster discriminatory outcomes. One could argue that in effect this would mean that the government is racist. It is a fact that there is discrimination against people with mental illness. It is also a fact that there is discrimination against people who are black. Another fact is that there is discrimination against people who are women. I have personal experience of all three of these facts, which culminated in institutional racism, although at the time I didn’t realise this. I have been sitting on the uncomfortable edge (Jones et al all my life, for one reason or another. My earliest memory of the uncomfortable edge is about 6 years of age. My mother was a paranoid schizophrenic, and constantly in and out of ‘mental hospitals’, meaning me, my brother and sister were constantly in and out of care. I still remember the name of the hospital. It was Brookwood Hospital. I remember I never had friends around because of my mum. People at school all knew she was ‘mad’, and I got bullied because of it. I always stuck up for my mum, because she was my mum. Yes she was ill but it wasn’t her fault. From a young age I understood that some people were different, and just because they didn’t conform to the

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