CGMH’s commitment towards racial justice, social equity and mental health

05 Nov 2020

The evidence is clear. Racism and racial injustices, of all forms and at all levels contribute to social inequities and to poor social, emotional, mental and physical health. We recognise that social justice and mental health are inextricably linked. We also acknowledge the prevalence and perpetuation of colonial power dynamics in global mental health (GMH), and the vast imbalance in opportunities to generate, disseminate and implement knowledge, between the global north and the global south, in our field. This needs to change now. The Centre for Global Mental Health’s (CGMH) mission is to address inequities by closing the care gap, and to reduce human rights abuses experienced by people living with mental, neurological and substance use conditions, particularly in low resource settings. This cannot be achieved without addressing racial and social injustices and decolonising global mental health.

Following the senseless killing of George Floyd, we as a Centre have commenced a process of critical reflection on how we can address systemic racism and discrimination, at both academic and structural levels at CGMH. Both the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and King's College London acknowledge our own historical and current failures in perpetuating inequities and injustices, and committing to listening and taking action to end structural racism. CGMH stands with all Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Indigenous communities worldwide - and especially our own staff, students, alumni, and collaborative partners – to tackle racial and national hierarchies and exploitative systems in GMH. CGMH commits to supporting its members to expand current efforts toward realising social justice in global mental health. More broadly:

  • We will challenge the status quo in global health research, teaching and careers and question existing power and knowledge hierarchies at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, King's College London and in the countries where we live and work to fight, not reinforce, injustices.

  • We will work together within our institutions, our MSc in Global Mental Health students and the global mental health community to 1) create space to listen, reflect, examine, discuss and raise awareness; and 2) ensure equitable, inclusive, and accountable practices across all of our research, teaching, citizenship and engagement activities.

  • We are committed to tackling existing discriminatory management processes and structures to end structural racism. We will do this through our newly developed Working Group (Rebalance - centRE for gloBal mentAl heaLth rAce aNd ethniC Equality), which aims to address racial inequalities and in support of Black Lives Matter, set up tangible diversity goals, and creating processes that cultivate the inclusion of Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Indigenous people and communities.