© 2017

Institutional Racism in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology

Race Matters in Mental Health

  • Traces the history of racism in Western psychiatry and psychology

  • Focuses on racism in clinical research, theory, and practice in the twentieth-century through the present day

  • Appeals to scholars in the fields of ethnicity and critical race studies, mental health, psychology, and psychiatry, as well as mental health practitioners and educators


Part of the Contemporary Black History book series (CBH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Suman Fernando
    Pages 1-10
  3. Suman Fernando
    Pages 39-58
  4. Suman Fernando
    Pages 59-90
  5. Suman Fernando
    Pages 91-110
  6. Suman Fernando
    Pages 111-134
  7. Suman Fernando
    Pages 135-152
  8. Suman Fernando
    Pages 153-179
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 193-209

About this book


This book examines the deep roots of racism in the mental health system. Suman Fernando weaves the histories of racial discourse and clinical practice into a narrative of power, knowledge, and black suffering in an ostensibly progressive and scientifically grounded system. Drawing on a lifetime of experience as a practicing psychiatrist, he examines how the system has shifted in response to new forms of racism which have emerged since the 1960s, highlighting the widespread pathologization of black people, the impact of Islamophobia on clinical practice after 9/11, and various struggles to reform. Engaging and accessible, this book makes a compelling case for the entrenchment of racism across all aspects of psychiatry and clinical psychology, and calls for a paradigm shift in both theory and practice.


Race and Medicine institutional racism history of psychiatric practice racism in clinical settings history of race in psychiatry development of clinical psychology and psychiatry history of eugenics racism intelligence studies transcultural psychiatry UK mental health services

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.London Metropolitan UniversityLondonUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Suman Fernando is Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at London Metropolitan University, UK.

Bibliographic information


“The skillful blend of personal and professional reflections with careful historical analysis makes this a gripping and scholarly text. It should be compulsory reading for all psychiatry and clinical psychology trainees—because ‘race in mental health matters.’” (Nimisha Patel, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of East London, UK)

“Dr. Fernando’s reflections on his fifty years of involvement with mental health in post-war multicultural Britain cast an unforgiving light on this sector’s failure to confront its own racist assumptions. It makes for uncomfortable reading, but it is a history that we urgently need to understand if we are not to continue repeating it.” (David Ingleby, Centre for Social Science and Global Health, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

“Dr. Fernando goes straight to the heart of the issue of racism in the UK and the USA. His evidence for racism being alive and well is documented with pithy historical and personal vignettes. It is a joy to have a credible source to tackle such sensitive issues such as racism.” (Carl C. Bell, Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA)