Church leaders condemen squalor, overcrowding and chaos on mental health wards

Church leaders condemen squalor, overcrowding and chaos on mental health wards

Church and race equality and faith groups have added their voice to Black Mental Health UK’s condemnation of the catalogue of failing of mental health services revealed in Mental Health Act Commission’s new report.

The biannual report, entitled Risks, Rights and Recovery, has brought to light the vermin, cockroach infestation on wards and broken and dirty toilet facilities and inadequate toilet and bathroom facilities within mental health hospitals.

‘This report again makes it clear that too many mental health services are not fit for purpose and something drastically needs to be done. It is black people who are overrepresented in the acute settings and have to suffer these indignities. They are never in these places by choice; they are sectioned and then have to stay there,’ pastor Desmond Hall, chair of Christians Together in Brent said.

Along with the unsanitary conditions, this new report has found that 37% of wards running at 100% occupancy, worryingly the problem of high rates of bed occupancy in acute wards is worse in urban areas with London showing almost half acute wards having more patients than beds.
Findings have shown the routine use of high-dose antipsychotic medication is prevalent and that people with this diagnosis are twice as likely as the rest of the population to die prematurely.

Extensive evidence shows that African Caribbean’s are over represented within acute psychiatric settings diagnosed with schizophrenia. Overmedication of patients in mental health wards continues unabated and patients complained that nurses relied upon ‘restraint medication and confinement in order to manage them.

The over representation of African Caribbeans in acute ward has raised concerns among race equality groups that the black community are bearing the brunt of brunt of these appalling conditions.

This report has again brought to the fore the over representation of black people in psychiatric settings showing detention rates as much as four times higher than their white counterpart and when in the system receiving disproportionately higher rates of coercive treatment the report states.

Risks, Rights and Recovery states, too many NHS Trusts show ‘poor’ evidence of fulfilling their duties under the RRAA, 2000 a new report reveals
‘We do not see the radical changes needed address the double and treble deprivation faced by minority communities who use these services. We have to see action so that racism is eliminated,’ Lord Herman Ouseley, former chair of the Commission for Racial Equality said.

‘The services are devoid of humanity and we would be hard pushed to find those responsible for commissioning to say that they are suitable for themselves or their loved ones. The Delivering Race Equality programme was supposed to produce some answers to these issue now that it is coming to an end we haven’t seen any improvements,’ Alicia Spence manager of the African Caribbean Mental Health Commission said.

‘To learn that there is an over use of coercion, using control and restraint as well as placing patients in seclusion rather than offering talking thereapies shows the failure of any strategies to address the inequalities in treatment and care of black people in mental health settings.

The last thing we should be reading ten years after the death of David Bennett is that black patients are being routinely forcibly restrained. There needs to be a commitment from the highest level to address this situation. If the Government do not show this by allocating adequate resources to this issue – then it is clear that they really do not care,’ Matilda MacAttram, director , Black Mental Health UK said.

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Name: Editor Black Mental Heallth UK
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