COLLABORATING FOR EQUITY AND JUSTICEBridging Divides and Healing Wounds
The Covid-19 pandemic and racial violence have highlighted inequities in our society and led to a reckoning within Cultural Psychiatry and Psychology and Global Mental Health about structural barriers to equity within our institutions and how our work may perpetuate or alleviate them in society. Cultural Psychiatry has been criticized by some for overemphasizing cultural forces as an explanatory framework for inequities and not prioritizing advocacy. How can we collaborate with our clients and colleagues and act as allies or advocates? How can our knowledge and skills be employed to help promote understanding and bridge divisiveness to work together towards a more equitable and inclusive society?
Cultural Psychiatrists and Psychologists and Global Mental Health practitioners are increasingly working in collaborative spaces. Some of these collaborations feel familiar, such as with scholars in other disciplines. Other collaborations might feel new or unfamiliar, such as with lay counselors, peer specialists, religious leaders and healers, as well as with policy-makers and institutional administrators. The 2020 Annual Meeting began to grapple with the challenges of such complex collaborations, and we will continue to develop this theme further with our 2021 meeting.
Collaboration can mean many things. An obvious meaning is partnership: to what extent do our academic, educational, and community-based collaborations reflect true partnerships? What are the challenges that arise in collaborating across levels of expertise, such as expertise in psychiatry, local expertise, or expertise in lived experience? Should partnerships be sought for every aspect and kind of mental health-related research, or are they more applicable to some than others? How are power differentials managed in partnerships between researchers from high-income countries and those from low-and-middle-income countries? What are successful models for navigating such partnerships?
Additionally, we aim to translate our work not only to other experts in the field but to policy-makers, patients, their family members, and the broader public. How do we ensure that our research is applicable, and how do we effectively convince others of this? Finally, how can we successfully integrate across disciplines and epistemologies in our scholarship and practice? How can we conceptualize categories such as cultural competence and structural competence as complementary and integrative approaches to achieve healthcare equity? How can we integrate across care providers, including not only psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nurses, and peer specialists, but also religious leaders, traditional healers, or other care providers?
Conference Learning Objectives
After attending this meeting, participants will be able to:
Describe 3 challenges in mental health and mental healthcare that have emerged as a result of Covid-19 and/or systemic inequities
Describe 3 challenges in culture and mental health that arise in collaborating across disciplines, settings, or across power differentials to promote equity, diversity, and social justice.
Provide 3 examples of successful integration of multiple epistemologies, forms of care, or types of expertise in designing research, training programs, care services and programs, and social and health policies for diverse communities
Apply lessons learned to design and implement equitable partnerships in cultural psychiatry, global mental health, and advocacy