Our equality representatives in Scotland
The College is supporting a number of representatives to challenge discrimination and advocate for change in our College and the healthcare system in Scotland.
These efforts are led by members to advocate on behalf of colleagues and those they provide care to. Each is welcoming of input from all Scotland members who are passionate for making a positive change in their workplaces and their communities.
We also make the offer for any interested members to get in touch directly with ideas and initiatives for amplifying and advocating with the voice of our members with protected characteristics.
For further details on how to contribute, please get in touch.
This is the College in Scotland's lead group for advocating for its members and all Scots from an ethnically diverse community
Our group was established in response to external issues such as the Black Lives Matter protests, the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our ethnically diverse communities and the historic and current inequalities of access for these communities to mental health care.
These were combined with a full and frank awareness within the College that, internally, we need to be better in how we support our ethnically diverse colleagues and ensure that the College is a welcoming environment for all. This includes accessing the medical training and qualifications needed to become a psychiatrist, ensuring training is fulfilling and provides the opportunities needed to develop a career in psychiatry through to our role in tackling any discrimination and racism that our members face in their workplace.
Membership and activities
- All members who are from ethnically diverse communities or who have a passion for addressing the inequalities people from these communities face within the College, within mental health teams and in accessing mental health care and support.
- It is led by our Convenor, Marianna Zavrou.
- The group campaigns for real practice change for our ethnically diverse communities. We encourage members to speak with one voice, and we develop strategies informed by a strong evidence base.
- The expectation would be meetings every 2-3 months, alongside membership activities including:
- Engagement with policy debates
- Engagement with key stakeholders internally (eg Medical Manager’s Group) and externally (Scottish Government)
- Running information raising events and discussions
- Raising with the College the necessity to change it’s own practices for the better.
Initial priority areas
- Supporting colleagues to highlight instances of discrimination and racism within the College and/or their workplace.
- To coordinate and collect knowledge on the ability of our ethnically diverse communities’ to access mental health care.
- To input to and support the College in Scotland to respond to the Mental Welfare Commission’s report on racial discrimination in mental health services.
- To provide an authoritative voice on key debates and discussions, including where appropriate around developing stories such as the Sheku Bayoh inquiry.
- To become established among stakeholders as a key resource of expert opinion on discrimination within our healthcare teams and in providing access to support and care, as well as how to tackle it for our ethnically diverse communities.
The College in Scotland supports its members of the UK-wide trans-cultural forum.
Trans-cultural psychiatry is a branch of psychiatry concerned with the cultural context of mental disorders and the challenges of addressing diversity (ethnic and otherwise) in psychiatric services. It is a field that encapsulates psychiatric research and clinical practice around the key areas of inequality in society and how this affects mental health and access to mental health services.
Trans-cultural skills within psychiatry & mental health professionals is an area that has not been given great exposure as a necessary key element of psychiatric practice but this is changing.
Supporting and implementing the processes evidenced in trans-cultural psychiatry & mental health research that ensure adequate levels of ‘cultural competence’ and go further to promote ‘cultural intelligence’ within our mental health services would be the logical approach to a coherent strategy.
In February 2001, a Special Interest Group in Gay and Lesbian Mental Health was established in the College to promote discussion and research, provide expertise within the College and contribute to education. The remit of the group has expanded over the years to include issues related to gender identity. The Group’s aims are:
- To promote and research the mental health of LGBT people.
- To promote training for all mental health professionals regarding the mental health of LGBT people.
- To support and advocate for LGBT mental health professionals.
- To advise on mental health, social and other local and national policy relating to LGBT mental health
This is a group of psychiatrists of all genders, with the following four objectives:
- To function as a network for the dissemination of ideas, knowledge, service development and experience to improve the provision of mental health services for women.
- To engage the public in dialogues, debates and discussions about social and cultural issues relevant to women’s mental health, both in the UK & elsewhere.
- To contribute to a public women’s mental health agenda, raising awareness of women’s mental health issues, reducing stigma, improving access to support and contributing to solutions and positive socio-cultural change in the UK & elsewhere.
- To support women psychiatrists’ working lives, including career development within management and academia.