Shelby Rowe | Decolonizing Mental Health

Shelby Rowe was five when her grandmother asked her to hide her Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood. Like her, many Native youth grow up trying to pass as white which, as Rowe knows as a suicide prevention advocate, has adverse effects on their mental health. For trauma-informed mental healthcare to be effective, there has to be justice - something Native Americans have been denied systemically.

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Decolonizing Mental Health

Like other healthcare industrial complexes, the mental health field operates around a centre defined by a whiteness of theory and practice. It’s a colonization that has rarely ever been questioned.

DECOLONIZING MENTAL HEALTH dismantles the racism that underscores the mental healthcare industry. By focusing its gaze on the transformative work of therapists and individuals of color, it calls for a redressal of the ways in which we define psychiatric illness and health. Through 20 profiles, the digital series discusses what a more responsive mental health care system should look like.

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Decolonizing Mental Health is part of a multi-platform initiative from GBH that includes the four-hour “Mysteries of Mental Illness” docuseries on PBS tracing the evolution of the complex topic of mental health from its earliest days to present times.


DECOLONIZING MENTAL HEALTH: A CONVERSATION

Moderated by Tina Martin, a panel of mental health industry experts & advocates – Dr. Sidney Hankerson, Dr. Dan Foster, Paul Hoang, LCSW and Shawna Murray-Browne, LCSW-C – came together to discuss the unique mental health care challenges faced by underrepresented communities. Read a recap of the event and watch the conversation in full.


If you or a loved one is looking for support, helpful resources are available and listed on our resources page