Decolonising the medical curriculum: psychiatry faces particular challenges

Bracken, Patrick, Fernando, Suman, Alsaraf, Sara, Creed, Michael, Double, Duncan, Gilberthorpe, Tom, Hassan, Rukyya, Jadhav, Sushrut, Jeyapaul, Prem, Kopua, Diana, Parsons, Megan, Rodgers, James, Summerfield, Derek, Thomas, Philip and Timimi, Sami (2021) Decolonising the medical curriculum: psychiatry faces particular challenges. Anthropology & medicine, 28 (4). pp. 420-428. ISSN 1469-2910


Colonial thinking runs deep in psychiatry. Recent anti-racist statements from the APA and RCPsych are to be welcomed. However, we argue that if it is to really tackle deep-seated racism and decolonise its curriculum, the discipline will need to critically interrogate the origins of some of its fundamental assumptions, values and priorities. This will not be an easy task. By its very nature, the quest to decolonise is fraught with contradictions and difficulties. However, we make the case that this moment presents an opportunity for psychiatry to engage positively with other forms of critical reflection on structures of power/knowledge in the field of mental health. We propose a number of paths along which progress might be made.

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