Psychiatry Confronts its Racist Make

How Psychiatry is Confronting Its Racist Origins

The field of psychiatry has long been a source of controversy due to its history of racial biases. While the field has made many strides in recent years to address its racist past, there is still much work to be done in order to ensure that all patients are treated equally and with respect. Let’s take a look at how psychiatry is confronting its racist make.

The History of Racial Bias in Psychiatry

It’s no secret that psychiatry has had a long and troubled history when it comes to racial bias. This can be traced back as far as the 1800s, when founders of the field like Emil Kraepelin and Sigmund Freud used outdated and racist theories about “criminal types” to diagnose Black patients with mental illness. These practices led to disproportionately higher rates of institutionalization among Black people, which continues to this day.

In more recent years, psychiatrists have continued to use outdated or inaccurate models for diagnosis that rely heavily on race-based factors such as skin color or facial features. Similarly, many mental health professionals continue to prescribe medications based on racial stereotypes rather than scientific evidence. As a result, Black patients often receive lower quality care than their white counterparts.

How Psychiatry is Confronting Its Racist Make

Fortunately, there has been a growing movement within the psychiatric community to confront these issues head-on. Many practitioners are now taking steps to recognize the role that racism plays in mental health diagnoses and treatments by engaging in anti-racist training programs and actively seeking out diverse perspectives when making clinical decisions. Additionally, research into racial disparities in mental health treatment is becoming increasingly common as researchers seek out ways to bridge these gaps in access and quality of care for all patients regardless of race or ethnicity.


There is still much work that needs to be done before we can truly say that psychiatry has completely confronted its racist roots, but it’s encouraging to see so many professionals within the field taking actionable steps towards progress. By continuing to take an active stance against racism in mental health, we can ensure that all patients receive equal access and quality of care regardless of their background or identity. With any luck, this will lead us towards a future where everyone can feel comfortable receiving treatment without fear of stigma or discrimination related to their race or ethnicity.

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