Black Men, mental health and oppression
: what do we learn when we listen to Black Men's voices?

  • Yvette Brown

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The study sets out to gain an in-depth understanding of Black men’s experiences of psychosis and oppression. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), a qualitative research approach, the study uncovers how nine Black men experience, psychosis, mental health care and mental health services and how they make sense of these experiences.

    In the UK, Black men are consistently over-represented in mental health services and are disproportionately diagnosed with a psychotic illness. Black men tend to enter mental health services through the police and criminal justice system, leading to negative and distressing entry into services. Despite Black men’s visibility within mental health services, seldom are the voices of Black men heard. This research gives visibility to Black men and centres their voices. Using IPA in conjunction with Iris Young’s (1990) framework of oppression: Cultural imperialism, Powerlessness, Exploitation, Violence and Marginalisation; the study captures how Black men make sense of their mental health experiences. Three discrete but interconnected themes emerge from the analysis and interpretation of the men’s stories: Becoming Psychotic, Domination and Dehumanisation and Starting Over shed light on the men’s oppressive experiences at key stages of their mental health journey.

    This study makes three main contribution to knowledge. Firstly, it offers a critical and insider perspective of Black men’s oppressive experiences, which goes beyond Young’s framework (1990). Secondly, it puts forward a new model for understanding the mental health experiences of Black men that shows how racism, powerlessness, violence and marginalisation intersect and are central to Black men’s mental health experiences, recovery and sense of self. The study demonstrates how concepts such as microaggression, intersectionality, internalised oppression and resistance are key features of the oppressive experiences Black men encounter. Thirdly, it puts forward recommendations for an anti-oppressive approach to mental health services that challenges and offers strategies to current mental health practices. Reiterating calls for a holistic, person centred approach to mental health so the structural and material reality of Back men’s lives are central and integral in their care.
    Date of AwardAug 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Coventry University
    SupervisorGeraldine Brown (Supervisor), Simon Goodman (Supervisor) & Anthony Colombo (Supervisor)

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