Taking Action on Racism and Structural Violence in Psychiatric Training and Clinical Practice

Jarvis G.E., Andermann L., Ayonrinde O.A., Beder, M., Cénat, J. M., Ben-Cheikh, I., Fung, K., Gajaria, A., Gómez-Carrillo,A., Guzder, J., Hanafi, S., Kassam, A., Kronick, R., Lashley, M., Lewis-Fernández, R., McMahon, A., Measham, T., Nadeau, L., Rousseau,C., Sadek,J., Schouler-Ocak, M., Wieman, C., Kirmayer, L. (2023, mai)

The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry


Recent events in Canada, such as the discovery of graves of Indigenous children at former residential schools and the emergence of Black Lives Matter, have highlighted inequities long endured by Black, Indigenous, Asian and other racialized minorities, and mobilized efforts to address the effects of racism on health, mental health and well-being.18 The Canadian Psychiatric Association published a position statement, A Call to Action on Racism and Social Justice in Mental Health, which was prepared by the Transcultural Psychiatry Section, to advocate for diversification of the mental health workforce, cultural and structural safety in educational and clinical environments, dismantling of racist mental health theory and practice, and transformation of institutional structures to make them more equitable and responsive.9 This paper advances that call by taking the position that Canadian psychiatry must act now to redress the ongoing problem of systemic racism through concerted changes in training and mental health services as outlined in this paper. The objectives of this position paper are to:

1. Clarify key terms and concepts and present an overview of racism in psychiatry.
2. Describe systemic racism and inequities embedded in training and clinical practice in Canada.
3. Identify priorities to address the impact of structural racism on patients.
4. Describe the role of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, and their professional associations, in challenging racism and structural violence in training and clinical practice.
5. Provide evidence-informed recommendations and best practices to transform psychiatric training and clinical practice in Canada.