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Panel discussion: “Disrupting Colonialism & Biomedical Reductionism in Mental Health: Transforming Communities for Enhancing Equity & Protecting Human Rights”

This webinar brings together activists to discuss the ways in which biomedical reach in mental health is experienced differently in the Global South and Global North. Speakers will address the question of what it means to protect human rights amidst growing global biomedical dominance in colonial contexts both at an individual and systemic level. They will provide examples of community action and resistance against individualistic understandings of mental health in favour of democratic rights and equity enhancing practices. In this webinar speakers will:

Discuss colonialism and biomedical reductionism in mental health to surface their impact and role in undermining equity and human rights.

Discuss policy and practice frameworks that exemplify the values embodied in intersectionality and theories of social justice.

Provide examples of advocacy and contributions to movement building and transformative change with communities.

Marina Morrow is a Professor at the School of Health Policy and Management in the Faculty of Health at York University. In her work, Marina uses critical mental health, mad studies and intersectional approaches to better understanding the social, political and institutional processes through which health and mental health policies and practices are developed and how social and health inequities are sustained or attenuated for different populations. Marina strongly supports public scholarship and the work and activism of the Mad movement and mad scholars. Marina is the led investigator on the SSHRC funded project, Realizing Human Rights and Social Justice in Mental Health.

Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim is an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia in the School of Social Work, an affiliated investigator at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI), and is currently the Principal Investigator of a VCHRI Team Grant in building clinical capacity for frontline mental health clinicians in community health settings. Dr. Ibrahim’s other global mental health research includes supporting a World Health Organization mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) project in the context of peacebuilding in Somalia. He is also PI for a Hampton Grant (UBC internal) investigating the role of user-led organizations in Kenya in decolonizing the mental health services. Dr. Ibrahim’s research focuses on integrating mental health services in primary health care and addressing human right issues within the health care system. Before joining academia, he worked in the health sector for over 20 years in community health in Kenya, refugee health with Medicines Sans Frontiers at Dadaab refugee camp, SoS International in Somalia, and mental health and addiction in Kenya, Canada and the USA in acute, tertiary and community mental health settings.

Kim Wichera (they/them), white trans non-binary post-east European migrant, 38 years old, living in Berlin. As an artist and activist I engage with social lines of conflict in the form of sound installations, performances, workshops, as curator of exhibitions or co-editor of book publications. I am part of the editorial board of Gegendiagnose (anthology on radical critique on psychiatry), member of IDHA NY, INTAR, Heroines'Wave, New Health Movement and since 2005 I work in the anti-psychiatric institution Weglaufhaus "Villa Stöckle" in Berlin, Germany. I am able bodied, come from lower middle class and am part of the middle class, have my own experiences with crises and am a careleaver.

Prateeksha Sharma is a peer-psychotherapist and musicologist who is the founder of the Bright Side Family Counseling Center, which she is currently re-establishing in Goa, to where she has relocated with her family of dogs and birds. She is also setting up another research in music therapy and examining the scope of emancipatory perspectives in service delivery in mental health issues. Her recent book is titled Barriers to recovery from psychosis: A peer investigation of Psychiatric Subjectivation (Routledge, 2023), to which she brings a three decade experience of being an “insider” starting from the role of patient, diagnosed bipolar in disorder in the year 1992.

Silvestre Barragán is Colombian and the co-director of ALCE (acronym in Spanish for Abolition of Punitive and Confinement Logics). Expert by experience and survivor of psychiatry. Artivist with a long trajectory on projects from a mad and transfeminist perspective that explore how creative practices can be tools for actions of resistance, empowerment and social change. @iniciativa.alce

Lucy Costa is deputy executive director of a non-profit service user rights-based organization in Toronto, Canada. She works as an advocate promoting the rights of mental health service users/survivors, as well as encouraging critical analysis about service user inclusion in the mental health sector. She has produced education curricula for many stakeholders and is currently developing the Association of Mad Studies and Law. She has written a number of articles and blogs and is co-editor of Madness Violence and Power: A Critical Collection (U of T Press, 2019) as well as a special edition of the Journal of Ethics and Mental Health (2019).

Bhargavi Davar, Psych survivor, with a vision for inclusive communities. Started the Bapu Trust in 1999 as the first survivor led organization in India, and among the earliest for the Asia Pacific. Served on the Board of WNUSP, played an active role during the days of CRPD drafting in legal harmonization and movement building activities in India and Asia Pacific regions. She has published on gender, colonialism and psychiatry, disability rights and community inclusion. Has extraordinary faith in the power and resourcefulness of communities. With this confidence, convened TCI in 2013, which is now its own registered global organizaiton of persons with psychosocial disabilities, users and survivors of psychiatry, and persons with intersectional, neurodiverse identities, other than those fated with a 'finding of unsound mind' and 'mad' persons.istening to the world is not an innate, universal capacity, the logic


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