LivPsych presents… “Racism and Mental Health: How to be an anti-racist mental health researcher”


In June 2020, we held our first webinar “Racism in Mental Health”, in which our three speakers revealed the ways and extent to which institutional racism is embedded in mental health practice across the world. From what was said, it is clear that the issues at hand remain vast, and that much needs to be done to take steps towards equality (to view the recordings and slides from the event, click here).

The conversations specifically raised a plethora of issues which exist within mental health research, the body of work and evidence which informs and underpins all of practice. This research then feeds back into the system of practice and further inquiry, perpetuating a seemingly unbreakable cycle. To penetrate deeply entrenched racism within mental health, it is clear that tackling racism within research is paramount.

For this new, series of events, entitled “How to become an anti-racist mental health researcher”, LivPsych has teamed up with The McPin Foundation and The Mental Elf to bring you a talk a month, focussing on tackling racism in mental health research.

Taking place live on Zoom, the series will culminate in a large-scale discussion in June 2021, one year on from our initial event, to discuss progress and directions for the future. We hope that the series will not only serve as primarily informative, but also as an open space to ask questions, challenge our ideas and collaborate on creating achievable and sustainable goals.

As part of the series, we are also encouraging participants to engage with our open reading list of resources, as well as an online notice board on Padlet (which is embedded at the bottom of this page), for you to share your ideas about what individuals, leaders and organisations can do to reform and decolonise mental health research.

To view the recordings from previous webinars, and to view and book tickets for forthcoming sessions, see below…

Decolonising Psychiatric Research: An Agenda for Change – Professor Suman Fernando (Tuesday 19th January 2021)

View the livestream from the event now:

For our first talk, we welcomed back Professor Suman Fernando with his talk “Decolonising Psychiatric Research: An Agenda for Change”. Reflections were provided by PhD student Humma Andleeb and writer and academic Grace Lucas.

You can download Professor Fernando’s presentation slides below:

Decolonising Psychiatric Research: Part 2 – Professor Frank Keating and Rianna Walcott (Tuesday 9th February 2021)

View the livestream from the event now:

After an intriguing start, we welcomed Professor Frank Keating, a Professor of Social Work and Mental Health in the Department of Social Work at Royal Holloway University of London, and Rianna Walcott, a LAHP-funded PhD candidate at Kings College London and co-editor of an anthology about BAME mental health, The Colour of Madness (

They were joined by Jacob Diggle, Head of Strategy & Insight from the charity Mind who provided a response from their organisation to what was said.

You can download Professor Keating’s presentation slides below:

Survivor Research Perspectives: Unmasking the Black-White Mirror to Save Black Lives in the Mental Health System – Colin King, Doreen Joseph (Tuesday 9th March 2021, 5.30pm)

View the livestream from the event now:

For the third talk of the series, we welcomed speakers Colin King and Doreen Joseph, both proponents of survivor research, the field of research reclaimed by people with lived experience of mental illness.

We then invited reflections from Akriti Mehta from KCL and Stephen Jeffreys from the Survivor Research Network.

You can download Colin King’s presentation slides below:

You can download Doreen Joseph’s presentation slides below:

How must we disrupt the mental health research system to be anti-racist? – Professor Kamaldeep Bhui, Dr Celestin Okoroji (Tuesday 13th April 2021, 5.30pm)

View the livestream from the event now:

For the fourth evening of the series, we were honoured to welcome Professor Kamaldeep Bhui, a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, and Dr Celestin Okoroji, a Fellow at the London School of Economics in the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science, to share their ideas with us.

Professor Bhui explored race ethics and epistemic justice in research, drawing on his extensive background in research and as the Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Psychiatry. He also wrote a blog for the Mental Elf to go alongside his presentation, entitled “Race, ethnicity, and disparities in mental health experiences and outcomes“. Dr Okoroji then spoke under the title “Lessons from Black Thrive: Disrupting the relationship between Race, Health and Unemployment”.

We also heard a reflection on what was said from Sarah Hughes, the Chief Executive of ‘Centre for Mental Health’, a charity which focuses on providing ‘life changing research, economic analysis and policy influence in mental health’.

You can download Professor Bhui’s slides below:

You can download Dr Okoroji’s slides below:

Achieving equity in mental health research – what needs to be done? – Dr Lade Smith, Dr Saiqa Naz, Dr Karen Newbigging (Tuesday 11th May 2021, 5.30pm)

View the livestream from the event now:

We welcomed Presidential Lead on Race Equality for the Royal College of Psychiatrists Dr Lade Smith, and Dr Saiqa Naz a CBT Therapist, Chair of the British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies and Co-Author of the IAPT BAME Mental Health guide.

A reflection came from Dr Karen Newbigging, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Oxford and a clinical psychologist with over thirty years’ experience in the health and social care sector.

You can download Dr Smith’s slides below:

You can download Saiqa Naz’s slides below:

What Needs to Change: How to Become an Anti-Racist Mental Health Researcher – Dr Sanah Ahsan, Dr Tarek Younis and Dr Jason Arday (Tuesday 8th June 2021, 5.30pm)

View the livestream below:

For the final session, we welcomed Dr Sanah Ahsan, a Liberation and Community Psychologist and Poet who will speak under the title “Research – One Of The Master’s Tools?”, Dr Tarek Younis from the University of Middlesex who will be exploring Colour blindness and Liberal Racism in Mental Health, and finally Dr Jason Arday from the University of Durham, who will speak under the title “We Matter as well: Understanding Black and Minority Ethnic Mental Health in Education”.

You can download Dr Younis’ slides below:

Toxic Interaction: How to avoid non-validation through neutrality – Hári Sewell (Friday 25th June, 2021, 3.30pm)

For the final event, we sat down for a workshop with Hári Sewell, one year after the webinar we hosted in 2020, at which Hári was our first speaker.

You can download Hári’s slides below:

Discussion Board (Padlet)

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