BMH UK speak out over race inequality in mental health services

Speaking on BBC Radios London Sunday programme Matilda MacAttram  director of Black Mental Health has slammed the shocking findings in the fourth national census on the ethnicity of patients in psychiatric care. She also demanded to know why the damaging impact that mental health services are having on Briton's  black communities is not being addressed.

Listeners heard how this year's Census report shows that detention rates for people from African Caribbean communities continues to exceed that of any other ethnic group. Although people from African Caribbean communities do not have a higher prevalence of mental illness this latest report shows that the number of black people admitted to psychiatric hospitals has risen year on year since 2005.

Almost one third of inpatients (30%) included in the 2007 census were still in hospital for the 2008 census. Even more disturbingly almost a fifth (19%) of patients in the 2006 census were still in hospital in 2008.   

Since 2005, the Government has invested over twenty million pounds into a

Delivering Race Equality

programme to address the discrimination faced by minority groups.  This latest Census report also shows that black patients in particular continue to be misdiagnosed, over medicated, forcibly restrained and placed in seclusion in higher rates than their white counterparts.

Commenting on the findings Matilda MacAttram director of Black Mental Health UK said.

'This census is part of the Delivering Race Equality programme, which is the Government's response to the David Bennett Inquiry report.  It is disturbing to see that the data in this report shows that the injustices brought to light through the Bennett Inquiry report are still occurring. If these kinds of results were published in any other sector of the NHS we would have seen ministerial intervention in this situation.”

Black Mental Health UK is a human rights campaigns group established to address the over representation of African Caribbean's within secure psychiatric care and raise awareness to address the stigma associated with mental health.


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