Aliens and Alienists: Ethnic Minorities and Psychiatry

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Psychology Press, 1997 - Medical - 352 pages
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In this revised edition, the authors assess the psychological consequences of migration and prejudice for groups as diverse as West Indians, Turkish Cypriots and Hasidic Jews. Combining theoretical perspectives from the areas of psychiatry and social anthropology, they examine the epidemiology of mental ill health among ethnic minorities and black Britons, and conclude that mental illness can be an intelligible response to disadvantage and prejudice. The new concluding chapter to this standard text reviews the development of transcultural psychiatry in Britain and summarizes recent changes in the administration of the Mental Health Act. The authors illustrate how the racist bias that exists in psychiatric theory and diagnosis has resulted in inadequate and poorly-researched treatment of patients from ethnic minorities, and argue that endemic prejudices should be examined and challenged by professionals engaged in treating and caring for the mentally ill.

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Medicine and racism
The question of black depression
Mental illness among immigrants to Britain
A digression on diagnosis
The price of adaptation
Sick societies
A prelude to insanity?
Normal and abnormal
The illness as a communication
Some conclusions

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About the author (1997)

The late Jafar Kareem BSc was a member of the British Association of Psychotherapists, a member of the London Centre for Psychotherapy, and Founder and Clinical Director of Nafsiyat Intercultural Therapy Centre.

Roland Littlewood BSc, MB, DPhil, FRCPsych, is Professor of Psychiatry and Anthropology, University College London, Joint Director of the UCL Centre for Medical Anthropology, Consultant Psychiatrist, Middlesex Hospital, and Medical Advisor, Nafsiyat.

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