Thursday 15th June


Glamorgan Building

King Edward VII Avenue,

Cardiff, CF10 3WT

Dr Anne Aiyegbusi, Registered Mental Health Nurse, Group Analyst and Forensic Psychotherapist.

Mental Health Care and the Enduring Challenge of Racial Trauma

Many advances in mental health care have occurred over the past 60 years with mental health nurses often at the forefront of developments. Sadly, the picture of progress remains blighted by long-standing examples of racial inequity. These patterns are well recognized and when described, a sense of regret is often conveyed. Acknowledgement about their persistence may be accompanied by recommendations aiming to address them. This happened with the 2018 review of the Mental Health Act, highlighting how well-meaning efforts have produced painfully little difference. The following circumstances are as evident for Black people today as when formal monitoring began, with disproportionately high, - Criminalization - Diagnoses of schizophrenia and other psychoses - Treatment involving high-dose psychotropic medication - Compulsory treatment and secure detention - Restraint and use of force - Deaths in custody when mentally distressed - Less access to psychological therapies.

Witnessing the human experience behind this narrative can be distressing, for example in the recent strip-searching of Child Q. Thus, I suggest the list of surface criteria might offer a preferred professional method of representing ‘the problem’, inadvertently functioning to keep emotional distance from the reality of transgenerational racial trauma. I offer a manageable way of capturing the enormity while doing justice to underlying human experience. This involves employing a trauma informed approach which includes psychosocial conceptualizations, recognizing how systemic factors can and do impact health. Notions of individual illness may be reframed as expressions of disturbance which is rooted in social context. Racial trauma being a case in point. I will consider how this is masked and perpetuated within the aforementioned persisting picture. Importantly, I will explain the benefits of integrating models of racial trauma into the theory and practice of mental health nursing via effective training and reflective practice.

Professor Mary Chambers

Professor Mental Health Nursing/Director Centre for Public Engagement.  Registered mental health nurse (RMN) and general nurse (RGN), a registered nurse tutor and behaviour therapist. (JBCN 650). I hold a B.Ed. (Hons) degree and PhD. Formerly, worked at University of Ulster, Royal College of Nursing, Research Institute, Oxford; South West London and St. George's Mental Health NHS Trust and Bethlem Royal and Maudsley Hospitals. Throughout her career she has held a number of clinical, managerial and academic positions including coordinator of the Northern Ireland Centre for Health Informatics. She is involved in a number of research projects locally and internationally. She is a fellow of both the Royal Society of Medicine and the European Academy of Nurse Scientists, and an expert panel member of HORATIO, the European Association for Psychiatric Nurses, and a member of the Institute of Leadership and Management. Mary has a well-established record of patient and public involvement (PPI) in education and research dating back to the 1980s. Outcomes of her work with respect to PPI in both these areas have had impact nationally and internationally. Integral to this work has been the co-production and delivery of education programmes, as well as PPI at all stages of the research process. PPI is one of her key research interests.

Photos by Tom Hannigan

Paul Forte - Eileen’s nephew