chapter  3
10 Pages

Ethno- racial representations and the burden of ‘Otherness’ in mental health


This chapter discusses some contextual issues around Race Equality and Cultural Capability (RECC) training by highlighting the importance of social context for practice, taking diagnosis as an example, and then present some challenges from the current debate about racism and discrimination. Key themes and concepts in RECC training and some useful models for transcultural work will be outlined. According to Suman Fernando, psychiatric diagnosis in a medical model of mental health is based on an assessment of 'what are perceived as symptoms and signs which are themselves evaluations - essentially comparisons of the patient's feelings, behaviours and beliefs set against values implicit in the discipline of psychiatry'. Fernando concludes that In RECC we have extensively used Fernando's model of the 'social context of diagnosis' to introduce front-line workers to a broader social model of mental health rather than a narrow medical approach that increases the risk of discrimination and stigma in service delivery.