Practical Steps for Anti-Racism in Psychological Therapy Services
"Unite and Increase Diversity in the Psychological Professions"
Day Four of #PsychologicalProfessionsWeek, featured a keynote that aimed to answer the question: “What can we do to make our psychological therapy services anti-racist?” Delegates were provided with an opportunity to consider steps we could all take. Sunny Kalsy-Lillico, PPN Midlands Chair, chaired this session and here’s what she had to say…
I was extremely proud to chair the session on our Vision's fourth commitment “Unite and Increase Diversity in the Psychological Professions” at our first virtual National PPN Conference week.
Dr Jacqui Dyer MBE, in her role as Mental Health Equalities Advisor for NHS England led the impassioned introduction, restating the urgency for us all to commit to reducing the appalling inequalities in healthcare. Jacqui is working closely with the PPN to develop a framework to support equity of access and diversity at training levels for Psychological Professionals. As Adrian Whittington in his role as National Lead for Psychological Professions at NHSEI and HEE noted, if we are to deliver better outcomes for our diverse service users, we need to look at who is being trained and how. This rallying call was then developed though the expertise of a team of colleagues who have been leading the charge for diversity in Psychological Professions: Saiqa Naz, Chair of BABCP Equality and Culture SIG, Michelle Brooks-Ucheaga, Lecturer & CBT Therapist at University of Derby, Leila Lawton, CBT Therapist & Race Equality Chair, SLAM NHS Trust, Meera Bahu, Senior CBT Therapist at SLAM NHS Trust and Javed Rehman, Expert by Experience. Each of these colleagues shared damning evidence of inequalities from service user, communities and therapist perspectives. They highlighted systemic barriers and ignorance, punctuated with personal stories that were uncomfortable to hear. I felt privileged to listen to them whilst each experience they spoke of, describing inequity, discrimination and distress pierced into me. And I wondered how the audience were experiencing the power of their words and the strength of their experiences. Each of our experts also shared practical steps that we can all commit to make a difference as well as throwing down the gauntlet to the NHS to put resources behind the desire for change. Psychological healthcare that represents the diversity of our communities is not a choice; it should be at the heart of our training, planning and provision.
This session held up a mirror to us all. All of our presenters challenged us to courageously seek out information we did not know, to use allyship and meaningful co-production in opposing anti-discriminatory practices and to commit to standing up and saying enough is enough. And my challenge to you, is what will you commit to make a difference?
What are you doing to "Unite and Increase Diversity in the Psychological Professions"?
We want to invite you to take part too! Please let the world know what the psychological professions are doing - linked to the commitments in our collective vision.
Simply tweet #PsychologicalProfessionsIntoAction with a picture or a tweet showing what the psychological professions are doing where you are, to live up to these commitments.