Transformation of perception: What are psychotic disorders and why are ethnic minorities at increased risk? – Dr Hannah Jongsma, UCL

December 6, 2019 @ 5:45 pm – 7:10 pm
Wolfson College
Gatsby Room
Ali Mashhadi

We’ve all felt our phone vibrate in our pocket while it’s been on airplane mode, or heard our name called on the street without seeing a familiar face. These hallucinations are also known as mild psychotic experiences, and are very common. However, when such hallucinations are more severe and are paired with delusionary beliefs, someone might experience a psychotic episode or develop a psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.

Not everyone is equally likely to develop a psychotic disorder: they occur more often in urban areas, in young men, and in ethnic minorities. In this talk, I will explore both what psychotic disorders are and why some ethnic minority groups in Western European countries face an excess risk. I will use literature from the social sciences and will draw on epidemiological investigations. I will demonstrate that social disadvantage and identity-based exclusion are key elements of this excess risk in minorities, and hope to transform your perceptions on what psychotic disorders are and what causes them.