chapter  15
12 Pages

Critical psychiatry in Canada

WithLAURENCE J . KIRMAYER

The author first met Suman Fernando in 1986 when he came to work as a senior nurse manager at Chase Farm Hospital. Race, culture and the impression that interacting with non-indigenous people made on the primary indigenous workforce was a theme he exposed from a perspective of how the non-British worker was perceived, and the feeling that psychosis leading to a diagnosis of schizophrenia for black people in contact with the mental illness system seemed inevitable. Suman was also the first non-white consultant psychiatrist he had met that had influence and authority. The author's greatest awareness and interest in Suman's work arose when he had retired from the NHS and left Chase Farm. In 2009, he encountered Suman again following a somewhat impromptu telephone call in which he asked the author's opinion and views of writing up teaching aids and materials for mental health workers in his own country, Sri Lanka.